After dropping back-to-back games to the Mets, the Marlins are now off to a disappointing 3-8 start this season. There’s still a long way to go, but Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com after last night’s loss that he’s not happy with what he’s seeing so far:
“We’re not really giving ourselves a chance, it feels like,” Stanton said. “We’ve got a positive vibe, but [something] is just not there. The fire is not there, it seems like. You always want to have it. But when you’re out there, and it’s game time, it’s just nothing there — it seems like.”
Miami has dropped the first two of four to the red-hot Mets, winners of six straight. After each of Stanton’s first-inning homers, the Mets each night seized momentum in the mid to late innings.
“The game is nine innings,” Stanton said. “It’s not two, three. It doesn’t matter if it’s the fifth through the seventh, or the seventh through the ninth. It’s not two innings, it’s nine. We’re not playing nine.”
The Marlins managed to lock up Stanton to a massive long-term deal over the winter while making some high-profile additions like Dee Gordon, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Martin Prado, and Michael Morse. The offseason activity made them a trendy pick for a Wild Card spot with many pundits, but Latos is off to a rough start and Henderson Alvarez is currently sidelined with shoulder inflammation, so their rotation looks shaky at the moment. Jose Fernandez is due to back at some point later this season, but it’s hard to know what to expect from someone coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Marlins this weekend, as they are slated to face Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey over the next two days.
To prepare for his return to the Yankees after missing the entire 2014 season while serving out a 162-game PED suspension, Alex Rodriguez has enlisted the help of baseball’s home run king (and central figure of the “steroid era”) — Barry Bonds.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the two have been spotted working together at a Bay Area baseball facility called Future Prospects, owned by Bonds’ friend and former Arizona State teammate Charles Scott. Bonds has trained other major league hitters, like Dexter Fowler and Michael Morse, so this isn’t all that weird on a pure instructional level. Who knows more about late-career productivity — whatever you think of PEDs — than Bonds?
A-Rod, who will turn 40 years old in July, said last week that he expects to win the Yankees’ starting third base job this spring. It’s far more likely that he’ll DH, given that Chase Headley was retained.
Rodriguez is due a total of $64 million from the Yankees over the next three seasons. He also carries some marketing bonuses for career home run benchmarks.
Bonds and A-Rod have 1,416 career home runs between them.
San Francisco got a first-hand look at Norichika Aoki while beating Kansas City in the World Series and now the Giants have signed the 33-year-old outfielder.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that it’s a one-year deal worth $4 million and includes a 2016 team option with a $700,000 buyout. Seems like a bargain.
Aoki has his flaws, chief among them sometimes looking like a mess defensively with poor routes, but his defensive numbers have actually been pretty good and he’s a career .287 hitter with a .353 on-base percentage and as many walks as strikeouts during three seasons in America.
Aoki will take over in left field, where the Giants used Michael Morse for most of the regular season and then turned to journeyman first baseman Travis Ishikawa in the playoffs.
Yesterday the A’s swapped shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Nationals for reliever Tyler Clippard, and in doing so completed the ninth trade between general managers Billy Beane and Mike Rizzo since December of 2010.
Or, put another way: Oakland and Washington have made an average of one trade every five months for the past four years.
Some of them have been minor deals and they actually swapped catcher Kurt Suzuki back and forth twice, but in addition to this significant Escobar-Clippard trade they also had big ones involving Josh Willingham, Gio Gonzalez, and Derek Norris, plus a three-team trade with the Mariners that had Michael Morse and John Jaso in it.
Baseball-Reference.com has the full trading history between the two teams, because Baseball-Reference.com has everything always.
Beane is perceived as pretty new-school, Rizzo is perceived as pretty old-school, and they love making trades together.