Third-string catcher Miguel Olivo bailed on the Marlins this week, leaving after batting practice before Friday night’s win over the St Louis Cardinals. According to several reports, Olivo had repeatedly asked the front office for his release, but the Miami Marlins have refused to do so. The team, in turn, placed Olivo, batting .203 with four homers and nine RBI, on the restricted list, which means they don’t have to pay him. Big shock.
“I told them I wanted to be released and they wouldn’t give it to me,” said Olivo. “I don’t understand why they don’t release me. I told them I wanted to be released because I have 30 days of not playing. I need to play … If I’m not doing nothing, I don’t understand why they keep me doing nothing.”
“I know it wasn’t an ideal situation for him not getting to play a lot, but at the same time too, the team relies on you, and we all rely on you,” Marlins skipper Mike Redmond said.
The light-hitting Olivo was brought in at the end of Spring Training, well after back-up catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone. Olivo served as the primary back-up to rookie catcher Rob Brantly, but remained with the team once the lighter-hitting Mathis returned from injury. Mathis is hitting a robust .122, but to his credit, he is a plus defender behind the plate and has called great games for young pitchers like Jacob Turner and Jose Fernandez.
The team has no use for Olivo, so the move to place him on the restricted list and not pay him smacks of spite. Olivo would return nothing of consequence in the trade market, and, at 34-years old, he’s not a piece to build with. This seems like another botched decision that will bring more negative PR to the club. Just cut him and be done with it.
Entering Week 3 of the 2013 season, the Miami Marlins were tied for the worst record in Major League Baseball. Good news? I nailed my prediction for Week 3, marking the record at 2-5. Bad news? That performance won them sole possession of the worst record in the league.
Here’s more news of the good/bad variety: Good news? Giancarlo Stanton registered his first RBI of the season last Sunday. Bad news? Giancarlo Stanton registered in first RBI last bleeping Sunday. Good news? Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria belted his first homerun of the season. Bad news? Hechavarria landed on the 15-day DL soon thereafter. Good news? The team found it had a new bellboy. Bad news? That bellboy is their starting catcher.
Here’s the story: Journeyman catcher Miguel Olivo was lifted for a pinchrunner during Saturday’s 13 inning loss in Cincinnati. The pinchrunner? Catcher Rob Brantly.
From Clark Spencer’s Fish Bytes Blog for the Miami Herald:
“It surprised me a little bit,” Olivo said of being replaced by Brantly after he singled in Saturday’s 10th inning.
On Sunday, Olivo challenged Brantly to a race on the field at Great American Ball Park.
“I told him if he beat me, I’d give him $1,000,” Olivo said. “But I beat you, you take care of all the luggage for everybody in the hotel. And he will. He will carry the luggage for the whole team.”
As the story goes, Olivo beat Brantly twice for good measure. I’m not sure what’s more disconcerting here. First, Brantly might very be a spectacular bellboy, thus foregoing his promising MLB career. And B, how did Mike Redmond, team manager, not know Olivo was faster than the man he sent in to run for him? Pinch runners are presumably chosen because, you know, they’re faster than the guy they’re going in for. Yikes.
This week also signaled the likely end to John Maine‘s Miami Marlins career, as the righty was designated for assignment on April 19th. Righty Tom Koehler was called up from Triple-A New Orleans as a replacement.
The Third Week
Game 13: Miami 3 Washington 10 While Chris Coghlan managed a pair of singles, an RBI and a pair of outfield assists, that wasn’t enough to rescue the team from the first of two dismal outings from Wade LeBlanc this week. LeBlanc, who had been sharp up until this start, surrendered seven earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched. His replacement? John Maine, who gave up three earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched. Maine was cut by the team four days later, after posting a 12.27 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched this season. Great signing.
Game 14: Miami 8 Washington 2 It was a season-high in the runs category for the Fish. SS Adeiny Hechavarria blasted a three-run homerun, the first at home for the Marlins this season. Yes, that horrid structure in left-center still works. Justin Ruggiano continued his acceptable play with three RBI, and Alex Sanabia turned in a decent performance, giving up two runs on six hits.
Game 15: Miami 1 Washington 6 The Marlins elected not to start a 27 game winning streak. Ricky Nolasco continued to struggle, giving up four earned runs over six innings, and the bats were silent one night after coming alive. The Marlins were 1-f0r-7 with runners in scoring position. The team concluded the wretched homestand with a 2-7 record.
Game 16: Miami 1 Cincinnati 11 The quiet bats traveled with the team to the Great American Ballpark in Ohio. Giancarlo Stanton returned to the lineup, but provided just one hit. Rookie sensation Jose Fernandez struggled for the first time in his career, allowing five earned runs over four innings. The team was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Game 17: Miami 2 Cincinnati 1 The Marlins picked up just their second road win of the season, thanks to a ninth inning Justin Ruggiano go-ahead homerun off Cincinnati Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. The offense continued to refuse to score for Kevin Slowey, who lowered his ERA 1.90 but has no wins to show for it. Stanton’s slump also continued, as he went 0-for-4 with 2 Ks.
Game 18: Miami 2 Cincinnati 3 This 13 inning affair ended when closer Steve Cishek gave up a game-winning sacrifice fly. Wade LeBlanc struggled again, lasting just four innings. Some guy named Joe Mahoney came off the DL and managed a pinch-hit RBI single, but the team was 3-for-11 overall with runners in scoring position.
Game 19: Miami 6 Cincinnati 10 Alex Sanabia and Jon Rauch, Jeep enthusiast, conspired to blow this one. The two pitchers surrendered a combined eight earned runs in the 8th inning, and between the two, they allowed all ten runs to score. Miguel Olivo, freshly offended from his being lifted for a slower pinchrunner the day before, belted a three-run homer in the ninth to make things marginally more interesting, but the Marlins fell anyway. Stanton managed his first RBI of the season, but is still hitting just .188 for the season with no homeruns.
Placido Polanco remains the only regular on the team with a batting average near .300, as he’s hitting at a .292 clip so far. Utility infielder Chris Valakia is the only other player hitting above .250, with a .280 batting average. Craptastic.
After his rough outing in Cincinnati, rookie Jose Fernandez’s ERA ballooned from 0.90 to 3.60.
As a team, the Marlins are still 30th in the league, or dead last, in the following offensive categories:
Batting Average (.212)
Slugging % (.286) (They are the only team below .340.)
OBP .271 (Technically, they’re tied for 29th place.)
Homeruns (6) (The #1 team in the league, Atlanta, has hit 29 homers already.)
Runs Scored (43)
The pitching has slid some after a tough week, now #24 in ERA, #27 in WHIP and still #30 in Saves. The team is 16th in the league in Strikeouts, with 139.
In my trolling for Marlins tweets, I found out that Jon Rauch (@jrauch60), crappy tall reliever, happens to be a Jeep Enthusiast. I would say it’d be nice if he were a strike-throwing enthusiast, but he’s scary looking, so I won’t say it.
Here’s a look at some of the Tweets sent out this week by Miami Marlins players.
As it turns out, the Miami Marlins will be playing two in Minnesota, their first taste of inter-league action this season, but because of the weather, it’ll be a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday. Jose Fernandez, fresh off of seeing snow for the first time in his life, and Ricky Nolasco are set to start the twin-bill for the Fish. The team then returns home to face the almost equally putrid Chicago Cubs. With the schedule lightening up this week, I could see a winning week, 3-2, but it’s more likely the team will go 2-3.