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Mike Redmond hired as Marlins manager

Mike Redmond hired as Marlins manager

MIAMI (AP) The Miami Marlins' celebrity manager was a bust, so they're calling one up from the minors.

Mike Redmond, who spent the past two years managing Class A teams in the Toronto Blue Jays' system, was hired Thursday by the Marlins to replace Ozzie Guillen.

A former major league catcher, Redmond had not interviewed for a big league job until he met with the Marlins last week. He received a three-year contract and will be introduced as the Marlins' fifth manager since mid-2010 at a news conference at their ballpark Friday.

Guillen said he would be rooting for Redmond.

``Congrats Mike Redmond,'' Guillen tweeted. ``Good luck buddy u have great guys going to play for you. ... Hope the best for you. u are a good baseball man and you will have fun with the players.''

Guillen was fired last week after only one season with the Marlins. A year ago they traded two minor league players to obtain him from the Chicago White Sox and gave him a team-record $10 million, four-year deal.

Redmond brings a much lower profile. A .287 hitter over 13 seasons, he played seven years for the Marlins and was the backup catcher to Ivan Rodriguez on their 2003 World Series championship team.

``I think it's a great hire,'' said Jack McKeon, who managed Redmond with the Marlins. ``I'm just delighted. He's a very knowledgeable young man. He was an unselfish player and dedicated. I was very impressed when I had him the years I was in Florida. I thought someday he would make a good manager.''

Redmond was popular with teammates because of his droll wit, and they still fondly recall him taking batting practice naked in an indoor cage several days in a row to help the 2003 team snap a slump.

McKeon claimed no firsthand knowledge of the episode but added, ``Mike was a guy who kept everybody loose.''

Because of Redmond's ties to Miami owner Jeffrey Loria and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, he was considered the front-runner for the job. Also interviewed were former major league manager Larry Bowa, former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon and Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price.

Redmond, 41, becomes the 11th former catcher among current managers, and even during his playing days, he expressed an interest in managing. Besides McKeon, he played for Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire, among others.

``People ask you, `What's your style?''' Redmond said last week. ``I learned a lot from all of my managers. ... There are so many guys I learned different things from. I sat and listened and watched and learned.''

Redmond was chosen Midwest League manager of the year in 2011, his first as a manager, after guiding the Lansing Lugnuts to a 77-60 record and an appearance in the league finals. This year he managed Dunedin to a 78-55 record and a berth in the Florida State League playoffs.

The rebranded Marlins moved into a new ballpark this year with a heftier payroll and high hopes, but the promising season began to derail in the first week with Guillen's laudatory comments about former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Six months later, the episode was a factor in the decision to fire Guillen.

A lousy record and disappointing attendance didn't help, either. Despite a free-agent spending spree a year ago, the Marlins finished last in the NL East at 69-93, their worst record since 1999. They drew more than 2.2 million fans but had projected attendance of nearly 3 million.

Under Loria, the Marlins have usually been among baseball's thriftiest teams. With revenue falling short of projections this year, the spending binge of last offseason is unlikely to be repeated.

Budget constraints will make it difficult to upgrade a team that batted .244, the worst average in franchise history. The Marlins scored the fewest runs per game since their first year in 1993.

In the Marlins' 20 seasons they have reached the postseason only twice, as wild-card teams in 1997 and 2003. Both times they won the World Series.

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm