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first bowl game since 2010 against Austin Peay

The day after Jose Fernandez died, Michael Hill sat down at his desk, took a deep breath and tended to his first big procedural chore as president of baseball operations for the Miami Marlins. Wholesale China Jerseys . He logged on to the Major League Baseball database, typed the word deceased next to Fernandezs name and removed him from the teams active roster.The seven weeks since have been a blur of emptiness and obligation for Hill and Miamis front office. The Marlins still grieve daily over the loss of Fernandez, who died Sept. 25 with two companions in a boat crash off the south Florida coast. But Hill and the executives and scouts on his watch are also conscious of their mandate to put the best possible team they can on the field for 2017. The task is exponentially more difficult without Fernandez, who was yanked from their presence without a semblance of a warning.Hills office at Marlins Park overlooks the West Plaza where the team painted a stadium pillar orange and fans lined up by the hundreds to inscribe messages of love and remembrance in the days after Fernandezs death. Every now and then, a passerby stops to pay respects or take a photo. Then the fan moves on, and Hill is left with a swirl of emotions and the gravity of his mission.You never forget the human [side] or what happened, but you know you have a job to do, Hill said. Were never going to replace Jose, but we have to try to move forward. The memory of him will always be with us and be a part of who we are. Thats a bond well all have forever.Fernandezs death came during a time of promise and hope for the Miami organization. A young Marlins roster improved from 71 to 79 victories under first-year manager Don Mattingly, and the pieces were in place to bring continued growth. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is one of the games elite power hitters. Left fielder Christian Yelich just won a Silver Slugger Award at age 24. And the foursome of catcher J.T. Realmuto, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, second baseman Dee Gordon and center fielder Marcell Ozuna combine to give the Marlins a strong up-the-middle presence.Starting pitching was the tenuous link in the teams chain, with the exception of the stability Fernandez provided every fifth day.In 29 starts in 2016, Fernandez logged a 2.86 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. In comparison, Miamis other 12 starters combined for a 4.70 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP and 7.2 strikeouts per nine.The Marlins arent even entertaining the possibility of trying to replace Fernandez, because his impact was so profound. If spring training began today, Miamis rotation would consist of Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley, Tom Koehler, Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena. Even if the Marlins wanted to sign a big name -- which is typically a foreign proposition for them -- the free-agent market is bereft of front-of-the-rotation arms. The other alternative is a trade, and they lack the talent in their farm system to make a run at Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, Chris Archer or other commonly mentioned alternatives.Miamis top pitching prospects are a ways away. Tyler Kolek, a former first-round pick with a 100 mph fastball, underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Lefty Braxton Garrett, selected out of an Alabama high school with the seventh pick of the 2016 draft, will begin his journey through the minors in the spring. During the Arizona Fall League, the Marlins have been monitoring the progress of starter Jarlin Garcia and reliever Drew Steckenrider. Scouts regard both as future big leaguers, but neither is the type to anchor a staff.With few alternatives, the Marlins have discussed fortifying their staff at the back end to help compensate for the loss of Fernandezs 182 innings. Relievers A.J. Ramos, David Phelps, Kyle Barraclough and Brian Ellington combined for 332 strikeouts in 256? innings this season. If the Marlins can add a power arm or two this winter, theyll have a bullpen that will take some heat off the rotation and allow Mattingly to pick his spots.We leaned on our bullpen a lot last year because it was a strength for us, and our starting pitching on the whole wasnt as strong, Hill said. To build that way is another route we can take. Get versatile, multi-inning pieces in the bullpen and try to shorten a game. Weve seen the trends of late with Kansas City and [Cleveland] in the postseason. We have the pieces in place already, so that might be a way to ease the blow.If Hill is looking for a current road map on how to move past Fernandez on and off the field, none exist. The closest comparable came two years ago in St. Louis, when star outfield prospect Oscar Taveras died in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic at age 22.Taveras death marked the third encounter with tragedy for St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak in 20 years with the organization. Mozeliak was assistant GM under Walt Jocketty when veteran starter Darryl Kile died of a heart ailment in 2002, and was in the same role when pitcher Josh Hancock was killed in a car accident in 2007.Mozeliak reached out to Hill immediately after Fernandezs death, and the two have spoken several times since. Among the insights Mozeliak has shared: Work can be therapeutic.You want to be respectful to the parents and siblings and people in that inner circle who are going to grieve for a long time, Mozeliak said. But going back to business actually helps with the healing. Its hard to get your hands around a tragedy when youre [forcing yourself] not to think about it. When you have something to focus on -- like getting the club going again from an organizational standpoint -- it makes it a lot easier.At the time of Taveras death, he was regarded as an elite prospect still trying to get over the hump. Taveras had just hit .239 with a .590 OPS in 80 games as a rookie, and the Cardinals knew he had some maturing to do and adjustments to make to take his game to another level.The Cardinals were coming off a 90-win season and a National League Central title in 2014, and Mozeliak couldnt afford to stand pat and let things sort themselves out in the spring. So he made a bold offseason move, acquiring right fielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves for pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins before Thanksgiving. Heyward logged a .293/.359/.439 slash line and won a Gold Glove to help the Cardinals win 100 games in 2015 before leaving to sign a $184 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.What the Marlins are doing, and specifically Mike Hill, is a little different than what we were dealing with, Mozeliak said. He was dealing with the rumors: Do we trade Jose Fernandez or try to sign him long term? Jose had already established himself as one of the elite players at the major league level.Not to sound callous or coldhearted, but I remember shortly after Oscars passing I was reflecting and I said to a few people, Were not going to miss him next year from a baseball standpoint. Its going to be two or three or four years down the road, when we dont have the No. 3 hitter we thought wed have.Left without their ace, the Marlins try to take solace in positive signs. Stanton, Miamis quiet superstar, assumed more of a vocal leadership role in the days after Fernandezs death, and the players and staff grew closer amid painful circumstances. But Fernandezs absence wont truly hit home until the first day of spring training in Jupiter, Florida, when the clubhouse will be a much quieter place.You felt Jose every fifth day on the mound, and the energy he brought, Hill said. But this was also a young man who loved life and lived it to the fullest. He had a pure energy and passion for the game that was infectious. I dont think you can separate the two.As the Marlins go down an uncharted path this offseason, the memories of Fernandez will simultaneously haunt and sustain them. Theyre still trying to process the unimaginable, while doing their best to make it through another day. Wholesale NFL Jerseys . The Islanders dealt Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens after less than a year on Long Island. Meanwhile, the Oilers dealt long-time sniper Ales hemsky to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-rounder in 2015. Wholesale Cheap Jerseys . Klitschkos management company says the bout will be the Ukrainian fighters 25th world championship fight. The 1.83-meter (6-foot) Leapai defeated the previously unbeaten Denis Boytsov in November to become the WBOs mandatory challenger. http://www.wholesaleandcheapjerseys.com/ . After a first half in which he thought "the lid was on the basket," the Toronto Raptors coach watched his squad mount a second half surge to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-91. LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky will start Luke Wright will start at quarterback against Austin Peay, giving the sophomore transfer his first extensive action as the team tries to become bowl eligible.Wildcats spokesman Tony Neely announced the switch before Saturdays game. He also said Stephen Johnson, who injured his knee in last weeks loss at Tennessee, is available in an emergency against the FCS Governors (0-10)). Wholesale Jerseys. Johnson relieved an injured Drew Barker against New Mexico State on Sept. 17 and has led Kentucky (5-5) to a 5-3 record as the QB, including 4-3 as a starter.The Wildcats are trying to reach their first bowl game since 2010 against Austin Peay, which has lost 26 straight. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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