Jarrod Saltalamacchia, his wife and his three daughters just came into the media room here at the Winter Meetings to be introduced as the Marlins’ new catcher. It was a touching ceremony:
It put me in mind of the Winter Meetings two short years ago, when we last saw the Marlins introduce a big free agent signing:
So I guess that puts the over/under on the Marlins trading Saltalamacchia at, what, seven or eight months?
Of note: Jeff Loria was front and center for that Heath Bell presser in 2011. He was here today too, but not on the dais with the Marlins brass. He was sitting in the media chairs off to the far left, trying his best to be inconspicuous. Indeed, when I aimed my camera at him he made a point to sit back and low, apparently not wanting to be seen.
Question: does this presage a bold new era in Marlins history in which their owner is rarely seen and even more rarely heard? Or is he just sorta ashamed to be seen publicly?
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.