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Marlins pitcher Straily glad he wasn't among those traded
By STEVEN WINE
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) While Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich were happy to be traded by the Miami Marlins, right-hander Dan Straily says he wants to be a cornerstone of the team's rebuilding plan.
And that's not all.
"I'm glad they're gone," Straily said Friday. "If they don't want to be here, good for them."
Straily's reaction to the Marlins' offseason dismantling under new CEO Derek Jeter differs dramatically that of from fans angered by the moves and players wanting out because they anticipate lots of losing. Half of the everyday lineup was traded, including Yelich and National League most valuable player Stanton, and Miami received mostly prospects in return.
But Straily said a reboot was justified after eight consecutive losing seasons under former owner Jeffrey Loria.
"I really agreed with what happened," said Straily, who went 10-9 last year and might be the opening day starter next month. "I feel like with the pieces they brought in, this might flip around a little quicker than people realize. I'm not saying today, but I'm excited to be here and try to mentor guys coming into the big leagues for the first time."
The Marlins went 77-85 last year, and after the season, Stanton voiced his frustration with a pitching staff that had the fifth-worst ERA in the majors.
Was Straily insulted?
"In a way," Straily said. "It's not like I was upset-insulted. It's no secret our starting rotation didn't exactly carry the team. When I hear that kind of stuff, it's motivation to continue to focus on bettering myself, because that's the last thing you want to hear."
There was speculation Straily would be among those traded this offseason, and he's glad he wasn't. The roster purge didn't bother the well-traveled 29-year-old veteran because he has been part of makeovers before.
Straily pitched briefly for the Chicago Cubs and 2014 and the Houston Astros in 2015 when both teams were building toward eventual World Series titles. He believes the Marlins can follow the same path, and this time he hopes to remain for the duration of the climb to the top.
"That's the goal," he said. "I want to be part of the rebuilding and part of a championship."
Manager Don Mattingly, who has also been vocal in endorsing Jeter's plan, said it's good to have a veteran like Straily on board with the approach.
"You want it from the guy helping you at the door, the guy selling tickets, all the way through the organization," Mattingly said. "You want people that are here to build a championship mentality."
Straily, eligible for arbitration the first time, missed the first two days of spring training this week to argue his case in Arizona. He sought a raise from $552,100 to $3.55 million but lost his case Friday and was awarded the Marlins' offer of $3,375,000.
In his first season with Miami last year, Straily tied for the National League lead with 33 starts and had a 4.26 ERA.
"Dan was really what we thought we were getting," Mattingly said. "He's consistent, prepared, an innings-eater. He's a guy who has been durable."
Straily and right-hander Jose Urena are the only established starters , meaning three rotation spots are open, and there will be a scramble for everyday jobs as well. But Straily said that doesn't mean the Marlins will be awful, recalling his experience with a young, surprising Oakland team in 2013.
"I was part of a rotation where none of us could rent a car, and we led our team to the playoffs," he said. "Just because we're not full of household names doesn't mean we're not going to be any good. Guys are going to show up and play well, or they'll find someone who will. That's what a rebuild is."
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Updated February 16, 2018