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Reports: Jose Fernandez was almost a Diamondback; predicted he and Giancarlo Stanton would be Yankees


Current Yankees outfielder and former Marlin Giancarlo Stanton appeared to accept his MVP Award at the New York BBWAA chapter dinner last night. While there, Stanton mentioned that his former teammate, the late Jose Fernandez, had predicted the duo would sign with the Yankees as free agents, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports.

According to Stanton, Fernandez said, “Hey, if this doesn’t work down here, I’m gonna be a free agent, and I’m gonna sign with the Yankees and you’re coming with me.” Stanton said, “Well, now I’m here and I’m gonna take a little piece of him with me and bring it to New York. It’s great to be here.”

Craig Mish of Sirius XM later added that Fernandez was apparently close to being traded to the Diamondbacks in 2015. Mish said that he hasn’t been able to get full details, but “something happened to nix that deal.”

Fernandez was killed at the age of 24 in a boating accent on September 25, 2016. Had that not happened, Fernandez almost certainly would have been part of the Marlins’ fire sale this offseason, which has already seen Stanton as well as Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich shipped out. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is likely to be moved as well.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.