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Updated: 2016-09-30T11:10:26-04:00


Miami Marlins ‘will take a look’ at Lourdes Gurriel



The shortstop could give the Marlins depth.

Miami will “take a close look” at Cuban infielder Lourdes Gurriel, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

Heyman reported earlier this week that Gurriel had a workout earlier this month and is planning to have private workouts with about six major league clubs. The Marlins are one of the teams hosting a private workout, according to Heyman.

Gurriel became a free agent in August and will be able to sign with any major league club on Oct. 19.

Gurriel is thought to be one of the better international free agents known to be available. He batted .277 in more than 1,000 plate appearances in Cuba’s best professional league and batted .308 in 2014-2015.

Though Gurriel is currently projected to be a shortstop, Heyman notes he could also play third base or an outfield spot if necessary.

The Marlins tend not to be as aggressive as other clubs with regard to international free agents. However, their interest in Gurriel might suggest they plan to move on from Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop in the coming months.

The evolution of Chris Johnson and José Fernàndez



What once started as a distaste for José's confidence grew into a sincere admiration of the young man's love for both baseball and life itself.

Too often in life do we find ourselves misunderstanding the behavior of those around us. Sometimes, we feel as though people act a certain way because they are trying to express a certain level of malcontent. And that is part of why Marlins infielder Chris Johnson just didn't understand the depth of Jose Fernandez's personality.

The day was September 11, 2013. The Marlins were at home playing the Atlanta Braves. It was during this game where José launched his first career home run. As many players do, José took a very slow jog around the diamond right after he emphatically flipped his bat. Given that he was a rookie at the time, the Braves were not afraid to express their disapproval. Amongst those who were most ticked off by Fernández was Chris Johnson, who was playing third base for the Braves at the time. Johnson was so angry he sprinted toward José just as both benches began to clear. Johnson would later tell the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer exactly why he was so upset:

"It was because I was getting out every single time, and there was this guy standing out there — Jose. I’m grinding. I’m trying to get a hit as hard as I can, and he’s out there having a good time, smiling, laughing, doing whatever he wants on the baseball field. He hit homers against us. He's striking us out. He's getting wins. That's the reason why everybody gets so upset, is because he's so good."

That, perhaps, is one of the best depictions of Fernández's on-field presence that we have seen thus far. As I previously stated, it's very easy for us as humans to misjudge certain types of behavior, and this is one of those examples. At the time of the bench-clearing incident, Johnson did not know José as a person. All he saw was this young kid who appeared as though he was being a bit too cocky during his rookie season.

What Johnson didn't realize at the time was that when José smiled, pumped his fist, or celebrated in any other exuberant manner, it wasn't an attempt to show up the other team. He was simply that ecstatic to be playing (and succeeding) in the game that he loved...something that Major League Baseball could use a lot more of. Over time, baseball has been characterized as a stoic game that doesn't pack as much excitement as other professional sports such as football and basketball. With the current influx of young superstars taking over the game, perhaps the tide has begun to turn a little.

José reminded us all of what it truly means to enjoy what's in front of us. This was a man who risked his life to achieve the freedom that the vast majority of us were born with. Instead of carrying resentment or anger, José kept with him an assortment of incredibly positive traits that made him such an extraordinary person. If we can learn anything from the initial misgivings between Fernández and Johnson, it is to think before we judge the entirety of a person's character. After all, if Johnson had maintained a closed mind towards José's glittery personality, he would have never gained the great friend he found in the late superstar when he was acquired by the Marlins in 2016.

Marlins Morning News: Chris Johnson remembers first encounter with José


Years removed from inciting a brawl due to Fernández's first home run, Chris Johnson explains how he then got to know the real José. The Miami Herald spoke to Marlins infielder Chris Johnson about the game in which Fernández hit his first career homerun back in September 2013. Upset with José's bat flip, Johnson sprinted towards him as he crossed home plate, which led to both benches clearing. Johnson spoke to the Herald about his eventual friendship with the late Marlins superstar. On Thursday afternoon, José's closest friends and family members gathered for a private funeral. This was a day after the Marlins provided a chance for Marlins fans to say their goodbye to Fernández in a public procession that started at Marlins Park. After losing to the Mets 5-2, Miami was officially eliminated from the 2016 playoffs. More detailed comments (from the team) regarding the season as a whole will probably have to wait, given the sadness of the past several days. But in essence, a plethora of injuries combined with a poor second half from the offense this year are probably the main factors that contributed to the elimination. Prospect Braxton Garrett has served to draw the most interest out of any Miami player participating in the fall instructional league. Garrett finally signed with the team back in July after the team realized they needed to sign the righthander before he made good on his commitment to Vanderbilt University. Garrett has already displayed why the Marlins again chose to use their first round pick on a high school player. As the Marlins try their best to finish off a season marred by sudden tragedy, manager Don Mattingly will send out Andrew Cashner to open up the series against the Nationals after today's day off. Cashner's numbers this season are a far cry from his career ERA of 3.86, as he has given up 17 earned runs in September through five starts. Check our game thread later today for more details on his matchup with Washington's A.J. Cole. Around the League Despite losing to a walk-off home run at the hands of Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox clinched the AL East last night. Thanks to Baltimore's Hyun Soo Kim, the Sox assumed the AL east crown due to the Blue Jays falling to the Orioles 3-2. Boston's playoff run should be filled with excitement as it is going to be David Ortiz' last ride through October, and possibly November. It should also be noted that as of tonight, the Yankees are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Houston Astros have been eliminated from postseason contention, which occurred through the Orioles beating the Blue Jays again tonight 4-0. The American League wild card now features the Blue Jays and Orioles occupying the two slots, as they are tied with just three games to go. Tim Tebow, the former NFL quarterback recently signed by the Mets, went yard in his first professional at-bat yesterday. Swinging at the first pitch he saw, Tebow took a high fastball deep over the centerfield fence. Tebow also played in another game today, going 2-4 with one RBI, two runs and a walk. As they are trying to secure home-field advantage for the playoffs, the Nationals beat the D-Backs 5-3 which brings them one game closer to that goal. The Nationals will need every type of advantage they can get during their October run. Washington recently lost Wilson Ramos for the season due to a torn ACL and they will be without Stephen Strasburg for at least the NLDS. A game being played earlier between the Cubs and Pirates has been officially declared as a tie due to inclement weather. Apparently, this is the first tie in an MLB game since a 2005 game between the Astros and Royals that ended with a score of 2-2. [...]

When baseball can no longer serve as a distraction


In September of 2001, the Seattle Mariners were nearing the finish line in what would become a record-tying 116 win season, and as a young, bright-eyed baseball fan in Washington State, I was enjoying every second of it. During breakfast I would gobble up the newspaper box score (no smart phones back then, kids) like it was Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Around the fraternity table there would be a daily discussion on the sheer epic nature of what we were witnessing. The crafty southpaw Jamie Moyer threw another gem. Edgar Martinez with another clutch double. Japanese “rookie” sensation Ichiro Suzuki made another amazing play. The hits kept on coming that season and never seemed to let up. The Mariners, a team who had only been to the playoffs three times in their (up to that point) 24 year history and had never reached the World Series, were going to win a championship. Then, 9/11 happened, and everything in baseball, everything in the world, ground to a halt. The Mariners “celebrate” clinching the AL West shortly after 9/11. Baseball would start back up again, but it would never be the same for the Mariners. Whatever momentum they had built up through six months of the regular season had abated, and though they were able to slide past a good Cleveland Indians team in the ALDS, they ran into the Yankees dynasty buzzsaw and were defeated in five. They have not been to the playoffs since. I firmly believe to this day that if 9/11 had not occurred, the Mariners would’ve won a title that year. For the Marlins, the balloon had started to deflate before this past Sunday. Injuries had racked up, the depth was sorely tested and only the struggles of the other teams in the NL wildcard race kept them within hailing distance. With José Fernàndez’s passing, the balloon popped completely. There are three games left in the regular season, but for the Marlins, it might as well have ended Sunday morning. Baseball, as with all sports, can be one of life’s great welcome distractions. If you’re having a tough day at work, flipping on the game when you get home and getting lost in the action is proven therapy. We come to the game not only to enjoy it for it’s own sake but to forget about whatever else is bothering us in the outside world. With the proliferation of fantasy sports and around the clock coverage, it’s easier than ever to make baseball a part of your daily ritual. Sometimes, as with 9/11, the outside world comes charging in and baseball simply can’t ignore it. Other times, a part of the baseball world comes crashing down, and things can’t help but be different. José’s friends, family and teammates are gathered today on the off-day to say their final goodbyes to a great man. Then, this day will be over, and many of us will be left with thinking about what could’ve been. We will never see José throw a perfect game. We will never see José raise a championship trophy. We have been robbed of a career’s worth of highlights and gifs, moments both heart-lifting and heart-wrenching, and nothing we can say or do will give us the chance to have him back. Nobody wants to really move forward without him, but that’s exactly what the Marlins are tasked to do, and how they go about it will shape the destiny of the franchise. The next three games are irrelevant, but then comes the off-season with it’s evaluations, bandying numbers back and forth with free agents and their representatives, and finally, training together for the upcoming 2017 season. The Marlins have the tall but not impossible task of adding pieces to this club to make it competitive going forward. You don’t replace José Fernàndez, the man or the baseball player, forget about that. Re-signing Martin Prado was a good start, but if Loria and company are serious about supporting the remaining players on this club and serious in their desire to bring another title to Miami, then they will see an immediate need to surround the core o[...]

Mets 5, Marlins 2


Miami struck early, but the likely playoff-bound Mets struck more. On Wednesday night at a somber Marlins' Park in Miami, the New York Mets defeated the Miami Marlins by a 5-2 final count. After Miami starter Jose Urena got through a scoreless top of the first despite allowing a hit and a walk, Martin Prado (8) got the scoring started for the Fish, slugging a two-run homer deep into the left field seats off of Julio Lugo with one out in the bottom of the inning. Giancarlo Stanton smacked his 20th double of the season later in the inning, but he was stranded when Jeff Mathis whiffed to end the frame. The second inning started off balefully for the Marlins, as Urena gave up a double to rookie second baseman TJ Rivera (4), followed by a James Loney (8) round tripper to lock things up at two runs apiece. Miami went down one-two-three in the back half of the inning. In the third, Urena and Lugo each spun a scoreless half despite allowing two baserunners apiece, each on a hit and a walk. The Mets added to their lead in the top of the fourth on back-to-back two-out doubles by pitcher Lugo (1) and leadoff man and former Marlin Jose Reyes (13) to make it 3-2. Despite a leadoff single by Mathis in the bottom of the inning, the Marlins couldn't keep pace with the visitors. The Mets struck again in the fifth, on a Curtis Granderson one-out single followed by a Jay Bruce (32) two-run blast to set the eventual final 5-2 score. The Marlins answered in the bottom of the inning by again going one-two-three. Nefi Ogando replaced Urena as the sixth inning got underway, and induced a strikeout, a flyout, and a groundout for a spotless frame. After a one-out single by Justin Bour in the bottom of the inning, Hansel Robles took over for Lugo and promptly got Mathis swinging and Adeiny Hechavarria on a force play. In the seventh inning, Curtis Granderson smacked a two-out single for the first blemish on Ogando's night, which prompted a visit from Don Mattingly and a call to Hunter Cervenka. Cervenka walked Jay Bruce and was also visited before calming down and getting Rivera to fly out to right. The Marlins could only muster a one-out single (and a stolen base (29)) from Dee Gordon after the seventh-inning stretch against reliever Fernando Salas. Brian Ellington spun a scoreless eighth for the Fish, and struck out Reyes while giving up a walk to Kelly Johnson. Addison Reed pitched the bottom half for the Mets, and got out unscathed after allowing Christian Yelich a leadoff single. Dustin McGowan took the hill for the Marlins in the ninth inning, and gave up a walk and a Granderson single before Mets closer Jeurys Familia struck out Derek Dietrich and Jeff Francoeur for the first two outs in the bottom half of the inning. Dee Gordon grounded out sharply to end Miami's slim postseason hopes. src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width="450" style="border:1px solid black;">Source: FanGraphs Heroes of the Night: Martin Prado added +.177 to Miami's win probability to narrowly edge out Jay Bruce who had a +.176 mark. James Loney was third with a +.108. Zeroes of the Night: Jose Urena allowed five earned runs in 5.0 innings on eight hits and two walks to finish at -.319. Giancarlo Stanton had the most negative offensive impact on the game, with a final mark of -.102. Play of the Game: Jay Bruce's two-run shot in the top of the fifth (+.188). Miami will close out their season with a three-game series against the Washington Nationals in our nation's capital, starting Friday night just after 6PM. [...]

Marcell Ozuna, two un-named teammates declined to get on boat with Fernàndez



As more information continues to come out about Saturday night and the fatal boat ride that ultimately took José Fernàndez’s life, we have learned that as hideous as Sunday’s tragedy was, it had the potential to be even worse.

It’s important to make clear that at this point, while we know that it was José’s boat, the Kaught Looking, we do not know who was driving nor do we know for certain that alcohol played a factor, so I would caution anyone from speculation in that regard until further details emerge.

Had teammates acquiesced to Fernàndez’s requests that they join him on the boat, we could’ve been looking at a disaster of unfathomable proportion.

As hard as it is to imagine today, things could’ve absolutely been worse for the Marlins organization, Miami fans abroad and uncounted friends and loved ones.

Marlins Fall to Mets 12-1


In a game that was at least a little bit more normal in regard to its atmosphere, the Marlins were unable to match New York's offense. Even though there were no pre-game tributes tonight, signs of Jose Fernandez's memory were still present. Aside from the jersey patches that the Marlins will be wearing for the rest of 2016, some players had his initials still written on their caps, including Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. At first, it seemed as though Miami was on the verge of scoring several runs early on. In the bottom of the first, Dee Gordon bunted his way on before stealing second. Marcell Ozuna then continued his success against Noah Syndergaard by knocking in Gordon on a groundball single to right field. Unfortunately for the Fish, that would be the end of their scoring for the night. In the top of the second, Tom Koehler let up a two-run shot to Jay Bruce into the upper deck of right field. This was a welcomed sight for Bruce, who has been dreadful since joining the Mets at the deadline. Yoenis Cespedes followed Bruce's lead in the third inning by tagging Koehler for another two-run bomb deep into left-center field. Afterwards, Adeiny Hechavarria saved Koehler from potentially giving up more runs in that inning by making an incredible catch to rob T.J. Rivera of a hit. After Koehler's early exit in the fourth innings, the Marlin's bullpen was able to keep shut the Mets out until the eighth innings. Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda both had multiple RBI hits which served to break the game open. Relievers Austin Brice and Mike Dunn combined to give up five earned runs that inning. Unfortunately, the damage continued in the ninth, where Ordisamer Despaigne surrendered three runs on four hits. While Miami's offense was mostly abysmal tonight, Justin Bour also continued to thrive against Syndergaard as he was 2 for 3. Hechavarria also added a hit, going 1 for 2. Although this loss occurred through a large margin, it's really tough to blame these players for struggling. The effort they put out last night was incredible, especially since it was only a day after the passing of Fernández. But it's very difficult to reciprocate those types of results when they are still just beginning the process of grieving their brother. However, tomorrow is a new day. The Fish will send out Jose Urena to oppose New York's Seth Lugo in the rubber game of this series. Their chances of winning that game appear to be favorable, considering that Ureña has only given up two earned runs over 12 innings in his last two starts against the Mets. [...]

Rapid Reaction: Prado, Marlins Agree to 3 Year Deal worth $40 million



Prado will remain as the team's primary third baseman for at least the next three seasons, as he was able to reach an agreement with Miami's front office this morning.

Martin Prado, who was previously acquired along with David Phelps in a trade with the New York Yankees in 2014, has signed a deal that will keep him in Miami through the 2019 season. Prado's contract will pay him $40 million within those three seasons, which is a decent increase in annual pay in comparison to his last deal which was $40 million over four years instead of three. Had this agreement not been reached, Prado would have entered this upcoming offseason as a free agent.

All things considered, this is both a productive and fair deal for all parties involved. While Prado has never been a big-time power hitter, he has still been a consistently prolific offensive player by continually hitting for average. In his time with Miami, he has hit a combined .296 while collecting 63 RBI in 2015 and 73 RBI during 2016 thus far. That just about matches up with his 162 game average over his career, which is a .293 batting average with 72 RBI's and 12 home runs. His .305 average this year also leads all national league third basemen. Also, his 3.6 WAR (wins above replacement) is the fifth best amongst NL third basemen. Prado classifies as a player who will almost definitely hit for a high batting average while knocking in runs at an above average rate. With such consistent and efficient offensive players hard to find these days, it made sense for the Marlins to ink Prado for at least the next three seasons.

Prado will continue to round out a lineup that has an incredible amount of potential for the coming seasons. With the combination of Stanton, Gordon, Yelich and Prado, Miami will be well positioned to compete in the National League East for at least the next several years. Marcell Ozuna, who is another one of their young players that the club depends on, will be a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. It remains to be seen whether or not the club will also re-sign the center fielder in an effort to maintain the core of their 2016 lineup.

It's also very possible that given the circumstances regarding José Fernández, the team is looking to solidify their main core of players for the upcoming seasons. During the team's initial press conference regarding the death of their beloved teammate, Prado was the player chosen to speak on behalf of the team, as he sat with manager Don Mattingly, general manager Michael Hill, and team president David Samson. Keeping the team together, both on and off the field, will now be more important than ever after such a tragic loss. By resigning a respected veteran such as Prado, the front office has at least began to assure that their team will be as solidified as possible, as they try their best to retain a team that was (and technically still is) very close to reaching the postseason this year.