Thoughts From A Coffee Shop – Marlins, Gohara, Preller, Ohtani

Some Short Thoughts on Some Prominent Happenings Around Baseball

The Miami Marlins have made a mess of their first few months under new ownership – lucky for the club, MLB doesn’t keep ownership approval ratings. The poor start for the new ownership group has worn off much of the shine from Derek Jeter’s playing days as he has worn the brunt of the criticism.S

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This ownership got off to a poor start almost immediately as it was leaked that the Bruce Sherman led regime required the previous owners to do much of the firing for them. This was exacerbated when they tried to cut the salaries of Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson among others who had been serving in advisory roles.The biggest blow of course came when it was announced that ownership would be significantly cutting payroll – requiring the trades of most if not all of their stars, including 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. The trade of Stanton also appears to have been handled poorly leaving them with little leverage and plenty of negative media.

This has only worsened over the weekend with the news that the Marlins were the only team (that we are aware of at this juncture) to not buy a ticket into the Shohei Ohtani lottery. The franchise altering talent comes at quite literally a minimal cost making him instantly one of the top 3 most valuable assets in baseball. To be the only team out of thirty to not at least make an attempt at Ohtani is a tough pill for fans to swallow and can only further worsen fan perception of this ownership group.

It is almost one year after the the series of trades which resulted in Drew Smyly finding himself in Seattle with prospects Luiz Gohara going to Atlanta and Mallex Smith to Tampa Bay. Smyly looked electric in his two World Baseball Classic starts prior to the 2017 season though he would miss all of 2017 (and will likely miss a significant amount of time in 2018) after requiring Tommy John Surgery to repair a partially torn UCL. Meanwhile, Gohara made his MLB debut in 2017 the year after starting at A+ and excelled in 29 MLB innings. Gohara now looks like one of the better young starters in the NL and a core piece of Atlanta’s rotation going forward. Smyly was not tendered a contract by the Rays for 2018 and is now an unrestricted free agent.s
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Mallex Smith put up a promising performance in 81 games for Tampa Bay posting a .270/.229/.355 line with 2 home runs and 16 stolen bases.

In a somewhat surprising move, the San Diego Padres extended General Manager AJ Preller on a 3 year contract – the deal will keep him at the helm in San Diego until 2022. Preller is probably familiar to fans on two grounds, firstly his prolific first winter with the club which saw the acquisition of a number of high profile players in an attempt to jolt the team into contention. The flurry of moves overseen by Preller led to him being labelled as the ‘Rockstar GM’ by outfielder Matt Kemp. More recently Preller was suspended for 30 days after failing to disclose accurate medical information in trades with the Red Sox and Marlins.sssssSince then however, Preller has done an excellent job at rebuilding the team’s formerly barren farm. Perhaps most notably, the Preller led front office has recruited heavily on the international free agent market – the same market in which Preller made a name for himself with Rangers.

Of course the biggest story of the week, came late last night as it became clear that Japanese phenom, Shohei Ohtani, had begun to whittle down his list of potential employers. News broke with the announcement that, odds on favorite, the New York Yankees, had been informed that they were unsuccessful in their bid. Many more teams followed as it is now clear that both New York teams as well as Boston, Philadelphia and many others are no longer candidates to acquire Ohtani’s services.s
Still in the running to woo the Japanese Two-Way star are the: Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers

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