Jose Fernandez isn’t the only pitcher working his way back for the Marlins. According to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, Mat Latos threw a bullpen session today at Marlins Park and is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week.
Latos has been sidelined since May 21 due to left knee inflammation. After watching today’s bullpen session, Marlins manager Dan Jennings said that it “looks like his knee is definitely feeling stronger.” The plan calls for him to make two rehab starts before the team considers bringing him back.
It’s been a struggle for Latos so far this season. The Marlins were expecting him to be a big piece in their rotation after acquiring him from the Reds over the winter, but he owns an ugly 6.12 ERA and 36/16 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings over nine starts.
As for the other sidelined Fish, Jarred Cosart pitched in an extended spring training game today after hitting the disabled list due to vertigo earlier this month. Henderson Alvarez is likely the furthest away in the group, as he’s still dealing with shoulder inflammation and isn’t expected to play catch again for another week.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.