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Updated: 2017-01-16T20:58:42-05:00


Miami’s best first base platoon option is not on the roster, per ZiPS projections



Xavier Scruggs seemed to be an ideal option, until he signed with a Korean team.

The Marlins’ best right-handed hitting option at first base isn’t currently on the roster, according to FanGraphs’ ZiPS projections.

Xavier Scruggs, who received playing time with the Marlins last season but signed with a Korean team recently, would have been Miami’s best option if he were still a member of the club’s 40-man roster, according to the projections.

Xavier Scruggs (475, 0.7) receives the top projection among right-handed batters who aren’t likely to start elsewhere… but was also just signed by a Korean club. Corner infielder Matt Juengel (520, 0.6) is the next-best option by those criteria.

FanGraphs’ ZiPS estimates only take into consideration players on the active roster, so the Marlins could sign a player who might end up being more productive than Scruggs. Mike Napoli could be a name to watch, though the Marlins don’t seem to be in a hurry to add a right-handed complement for Justin Bour at first base.

J.T. Realmuto, who FanGraphs projects will post a 2.5 WAR next season, will likely receive playing time at first base, but his estimate is almost certainly projecting his performance as a starting catcher. Still, adding another veteran right-handed hitter might be ideal.

Bour could receive more playing time against left-handed pitchers next season, but his .233 average against lefties last season isn’t encouraging. His career figure, .223, isn’t much better.

The Marlins could consider internal candidates as Manager Don Mattingly organizes his bench this spring. But according to FanGraphs projections, that won’t be the best option.

Miami Marlins morning news: Marlins to try Realmuto at first base


Will Don Mattingly allow J.T. Realmuto to drop his catcher's mask and don a first baseman's glove next season? Plus notes on A.J. Ramos, Tom Koehler, Ramon Cabrera, and more. Marlins News: The Marlins are reportedly considering experimenting with playing catcher J.T. Realmuto at first base next season, according to's Marlins beat writer, Joe Frisaro. Realmuto has never played first base at any level before, but with Miami's recent acquisition of backstop A.J. Ellis, there looks to be some flexibility in the roster. It does not seem likely that a serious depth chart change will take place. It appears that if Realmuto were to fill in at first base, it would be against a tough left-handed pitcher, but in order to do so, starter Justin Bour would have to be out of the lineup. On Friday, A.J. Ramos, Tom Koehler, Marcell Ozuna, Derek Dietrich, and Adeiny Hechavarria all avoided salary arbitration before the 1 p. m. deadline, but pitcher David Phelps did not. Phelps will have his salary determined by an independent arbitrator in a hearing that is yet to announced. Ramos, who saved the fifth most games out of his position group in the 2016 season is set to make $6.55 million in the 2017 season, but could earn a $25,000 bonus if he makes it to the All-Star game for the second year in a row. Koehler will make $5.75 million, and Ozuna will make $3.5 million, although there is no word yet on whether he will also earn a bonus for a 2017 ASG appearance. Hechavarria and Dietrich will cash in $4.35 and $1.7 million dollar checks respectively. Mike Axisa of CBS Sports wrote why the Marlins have silently constructed one of the league's best bullpens. Miami signed catcher Ramon Cabrera to a minor league contract on Thursday. For seven seasons leading up to 2015, Cabrera had played his career in the minor leagues under various Pirates and Tigers affiliates. The 27-year-old, who played in 61 games for the Cincinnati Reds last season hit for a measly .246/.279/.357 slash line but generated a sturdy .989 fielding percentage behind the plate to form a -0.2 WAR. Around the League: Over the weekend, the Padres locked down outfielder Wil Myers for six years via an extension that's worth $80 million. Myers, only 26-years-old, earned the deal thanks to an explosive 2016 campaign that saw him hit for a .286 batting average, including 28 home runs and 94 RBIs in 157 games. Baltimore and Jose Bautista have been in touch over the offseason, per MLB Network's Jon Morosi. Al Melchior of FanRag Sports questions whether signing Mark Trumbo would make the Rockies a better team. The Dodgers are reportedly looking at Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler as a fallback trade option if they fail to land Brian Dozier from the Twins. Before you go, check out Canada's ridiculous World Baseball Classic roster here. [...]

All-Time Top 100 Marlins: #48 Bryan Harvey


Bryan Harvey was the Marlins’ first ever closer. Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Bryan Stanley Harvey, earned 4.0 while with the Marlins. Harvey, a right-handed relief pitcher, originally joined the California Angels by signing a free agent contract in 1984. 6’3” and 205 lbs. out of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, he made his debut with the team in 1987, appearing in three games for the club. In 1988, Harvey assumed the role of primary closer for the Angels, collecting 17 saves along with a 7-5 record and a 2.13 ERA. In 1989 and 1990, Harvey continued as closer for the Angels, racking up 50 saves and striking out 160 in 129.1 innings. He was 7-7 with a 3.32 ERA over the two seasons. Harvey picked up 46 saves in 1991, leading the American League and making his first All-Star team. He was unable to follow that up in 1992, as he spent over half the season on the disabled list. He was left unprotected by the team in the expansion draft of 1993, and the Marlins chose him with the 20th pick. Harvey was the Marlin’s first closer, and he shut the door an NL third-best 45 times on the opposition in Florida's inaugural season by posting an ERA of 1.70 and a 0.841 WHIP. He made his second All-Star appearance, and his first for Florida for his efforts. On May 4th, Harvey struck out four Reds for his eighth save of the season, giving up one hit over 1.1 innings in a 9-6 win over Cincinnati. On June 12th, in a 5-2 win against the Pirates, Harvey pitched a perfect five out save, his 16th of the season, and struck out three. He earned his 33rd save of the season on August 6th, striking out four Phillies in 1.2 hitless innings. He earned no decision on September 3rd, when he pitched a season-high 2.2 innings, striking out two and giving up one hit in a 13-inning, 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He slammed the door on the Chicago Cubs on September 17th, completing starter Jack Armstrong’s shutout by striking out three over 1.2 perfect innings. 1994 saw Harvey open the season with six saves in the month of April, but he was unable to continue the pace, going on the DL for the month of May and most of June. After four appearances near the end of June, he went on the DL again for the rest of the season. Harvey saw one final appearance with the Marlins on April 28, 1995, but after three batters faced and three runs allowed was taken out of the game. It would be his last appearance for the Florida Marlins. Harvey spent 1996 signed to the California Angels but did not appear in any major or minor league appearances. In 1997, Harvey played in the Atlanta Braves minor league system, going a combined 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA. He retired after the season. Harvey played three seasons with the Fish, going 1-5 with 51 saves and a 2.50 ERA. He struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings and had a WHIP below 1.00. [...]

NL West Notes: Pads sign Myers long-term, Rockies ink Arenado


Here's what's happening around the National League West. The Padres took a major step Friday in maintaining the overall capability of their lineup, by ensuring that perhaps their best hitter will be in San Diego long-term. San Diego signed Wil Myers to a 6-year, $80 million deal that is split into two parts: the first three years will be arbitration-based, while the last three will designate Myers as a free agent. Either way, the Friars are eating up the contract of a player that will do far more good than bad for a team floundering at the bottom of their division. Myers smoked 28 homers and 94 RBI for the Padres in 2016, and appeared in 157 games. Here's what else is happening around the National League West: The Colorado Rockies have inked slugger Nolan Arenado to a two-year deal worth a reported $29.5 million. Following the 2019 season, Arenado is set to become a free agent. Arenado emerged as one of the top home run hitters in baseball this past season, knocking 43 home runs while also hitting a remarkable .294 as well. Arenado also managed to appear in 160 games in 2016, proving that power and durability could lead to perennial MVP contention at high-altitude Coors Field. The Dodgers traded young Micah Johnson to the Atlanta Braves this week. Johnson was moved in an effort to reserve a spot on the roster for newly-signed Kenley Jensen. Johnson played in just seven games for the Dodgers in 2016, but made a serious statement at Triple-A Oklahoma City during the Pacific Coast League postseason, providing timely hits at the top of the lineup. Johnson figures to find more playing time in Atlanta, for a club that is young and coming off an ugly season. An old name is returning to the NL West, but not to the Rockies. Catcher Chris Iannetta has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Diamondbacks. Iannetta was a consistent hitter for Colorado from 2006-11, and also put in three efficient years in Anaheim. However, last year was a challenge for the 33-year-old, as Iannetta hit just .210 for Seattle. Iannetta will take a pay cut of a bit less than $3 million, but this move gives him a chance to stay in the show, particularly for an organization that was looking for a role-filler. Iannetta brings experience that this Arizona team desperately needs. A standoff of sorts is ending in San Francisco. The Giants have settled with Conor Gillaspie, on a one-year, $1.4 million deal. Gillaspie hit .260 for the Giants in 2016, but is best remembered for his go-ahead, three-run homer to break a 0-0 tie against the Mets in the NL Wild-Card playoff. Now that he's inked, Gillaspie figures to be a key player off the bench for Bruce Bochy, providing depth as the team continues to search for that elusive superstar. [...]

Marlins settle with 5 of 6 arbitration-eligible players



Only David Phelps will go to a hearing.

The Marlins have settled on salary numbers with five of their six arbitration-eligible players, according to The Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer,’s Joe Frisaro, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The first reported settlement of the day was with closer A.J. Ramos.

Phelps had the best season of his career in 2016, posting a 2.28 ERA and 1.142 WHIP in 86 23 innings. His season could bring a fairly large salary number in arbitration, possibly near or above the $6.55 million Ramos received.

All-Time Top 100 Marlins: #49 Braden Looper


Braden Looper appeared in over 70 games in each of his five seasons with the Marlins. Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Braden LaVern Looper, earned 3.9 while with the Marlins. Looper was a 6’4”, 210 lb. right-handed pitcher from Weatherford, Oklahoma. Born on October 28th, 1974, he was chosen in the first round of the 1996 amateur draft with the third overall selection, by the St. Louis Cardinals. Also chosen with the other first four picks were fellow right-handers Kris Benson, Billy Koch, and John Patterson, as well as first baseman Travis Lee. Looper got his first taste of the majors pretty soon afterward, getting to the Cardinals proper on opening day, 1998. He struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning of a 6-0 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but ended up playing most of the season with the triple-A Memphis Redbirds in the Pacific Coast League, going 2-3 over 40 contests, with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.377 WHIP. The Cards sent him with Pablo Ozuna and Armando Almanza after the season to the Marlins for Edgar Renteria. Looper made the 1999 opening day roster for the Fish, and ended up pitching in a team-second 72 games in relief in during his official rookie season. He posted a 3-3 record with a 3.80 ERA in 83 innings pitched, striking out 50 batters and pitching to a 1.530 WHIP. On April 21st, he pitched three perfect innings of relief, striking out four Giants in a 4-0 loss to San Francisco. In 2000, Looper led the team with 73 appearances and posted a 5-1 record with a 4.41 ERA. Control was an issue for Looper early in his career, as he posted a 1.589 WHIP and only struck out 29 in 67.1 innings pitched. He also saved his first two games for the Marlins. 2001 saw Looper increase his strikeout rate to 52 in 71 innings while dropping his WHIP to 1.310, as he posted a 3-3 record with a 3.55 ERA while again leading the Marlins pitching staff with 71 games. On April 15th, he pitched two perfect innings in a 6-3 Marlins win against the Montreal Expos. Four days later, in his first win of the season, he struck out three batters in two more perfect innings against the Expos. In 2002, Looper added a wrinkle to his resume, as the Marlins made him their primary closer in mid-July. He would post a progressive career best 3.14 ERA while going 2-5 with 13 saves in an NL fifth-best 78 appearances and a career best 1.174 WHIP. On July 12th, Looper pitched three scoreless innings against Chicago in a 5-4, 16-inning loss to the Cubs. Two weeks later, he struck out four over two scoreless innings on an eventual 6-5 loss to Montreal. On September 10th, he earned his 10th save of the season by getting the last five outs against the Phillies, striking one batter out in a 2-1 win against Philadelphia. 2003 would see Looper retain his role as closer for the Marlins, as he saved 28 games and posted a 6-4 record with a 3.68 ERA in 74 games. He would also be a key figure for Florida in their run to their World Series title that year, going 2-0 with one save in eight postseason games. src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" style="top: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;"> Just after helping Florida to their second World Championship, Looper was granted free agency. He would go on to play for the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals before going 14-7 in his final Major League season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009. Looper tried out for the Chicago Cubs during spring training in 2011, but voluntarily retired before the start of the season. [...]

Marlins sign Ramon Cabrera to minor league deal



Cabrera gives the Marlins another catching option.

Miami signed veteran catcher Ramon Cabrera to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, the club announced Thursday.

Cabrera, 27, spent the last two seasons with the Reds but didn’t have much offensive success. Over 13 games in 2015, he hit .367/.367/.500 with one home run and three RBIs. However, over 61 games last season, he hit .246/.279/.357 with three home runs and 23 RBIs.

Though the Marlins are not in need of catching depth, Cabrera might be an option to compete for a roster spot in Spring Training. Miami is expected to open the season with J.T. Realmuto and A.J. Ellis as its two catchers, but if Realmuto receives playing time at first base, it might be ideal to carry another catcher.

Tomas Telis could be the favorite to earn a roster spot with a productive spring, but Cabrera will likely be considered given his major league experience.

All-Time Top 100 Marlins: #50 Quilvio Veras


Veras stole 56 bases in his rookie season for the Marlins, and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year vote. Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Quilvio Alberto Perez Veras, earned 3.8 while with the Marlins. Veras was born on April 3rd, 1971 in Santo Domingo, a township in the Dominican Republic. He grew into a 5’9”, 166 lb. base stealing speed demon and glove wizard at second base, and was eventually signed to a minor league contract as an amateur free agent by the New York Mets in 1989. From his signing through the end of the 1994 campaign, Veras toiled in New York’s minor league feeder system, and eventually played in 491 games at assorted levels of the Mets’ heirarchy, never quite cracking the majors. He hit .319 for the Columbia Mets in 1992, for the Mets’ single-A South Atlantic League team, then .306 in the next season with the Binghampton Mets, in the double-A Eastern League. He totaled 223 stolen bases during his time in their system, including a circuit leading 66 for Columbia in ‘92. After 1994, the Mets traded Veras to the Marlins for Carl Everett. The Marlins played in 143 games due to the work stoppage in 1995, and Veras ranked fourth on the team with 124 appearances. He led the NL with 56 stolen bases (and with 21 times caught stealing), while placing sixth in the league with seven triples and third with 80 walks. Defensively, had ranked fifth in the league with 297 putouts at second base, earning a .986 overall fielding percentage in 621 total chances. Overall, he slashed .261/.384/.373/.757, with 86 runs scored, 20 doubles, five homers, and 32 RBI, and even finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year vote, behind Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Hideo Nomo and Atlanta Brave third baseman Chipper Jones. He ended the season with a WAR rating of 2.8, accounting for most of his output while with the Marlins. On August 22nd, Veras doubled, stole third, and scored in the first, drew first by getting hit in the second, singled and scored in the fourth, and hit another single in the seventh in an 8-6 Marlins win over the Chicago Cubs. On the 9th of September, Veras scored four of Miami’s five runs in a 9-5 loss to the Braves, collecting three walks, a double, a triple, and an RBI, accounting for the other Miami run. On September 12th, Veras hit a single, a double, a triple, scored a run, collected two RBI and stole two bases, earning the lion’s share of a 5-4 victory over the CIncinnati Reds (Charles Johnson also went three-for-three that day). He was on base five times in a row. You can’t ask for more - Marlins manager Rene Lachemann In 1996, Veras played in 73 games for the Marlins, but was only successful in stealing eight-of-16 bases. He still drew 51 walks and only struck out 42 times, slashing .253/.381/.340/.721, with 40 runs, eight doubles, four homers, and 14 RBI. In his more limited sample size, he earned a WAR figure of 1.0 for the season. On April 25th, Veras walked, stole third, and scored in the first, hit a three-run homer in the fifth, drew an intentional walk in the seventh, and walked and stole second base in the ninth inning of a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the campaign, Veras was traded to the San Diego Padres for Dustin Hermanson. He spent three successful seasons with the Padres (415 games, .270/.366/.353/.719, 248 runs, 72 doubles, 15 homers, 131 RBI, 221 walks, 250 strikeouts, 87 stolen bases), then joined the Atlanta Braves for two more seasons (155 games, .282/.376/.385/.761, 95 runs, 29 doubles, eight homers, 62 RBI, 75 walks, 102 strikeouts, 32 stolen bases.). [...]