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Trimmer, Slimmer, Wiser

It's pointless to dance around the subject, un-PC as it might be. After all, the excesses of Chris Marrero's weight have already subjected to ridicule. Baseball America wrote recently that "after moving from the outfield to first base in 2007, Marrero got bigger and now there's concern he could wind up as a DH." One scout I spoke with last year described Marrero as "doughy." Another called him "fleshy."

Nobody even bothered with euphemism. Last season, Marrero, Washington's 2006 first-round draft pick, was too big for his own good.

"I was heavy," Marrero says today. "I didn't get fat, I just got really really strong. I came into 2008 at, like, 235 or something with 11 percent body fat. But I lost a little bit of my agility."

Trying to figure out what is in store for Marrero, 20, in 2009 requires all sorts of physical reportage. Is he slimmer? Is he fully recovered from a fibula fracture that last June extinguished his season just as his bat was starting to get hot?

Marrero says the answers are Yes and Yes.

As he prepares for this season, Marrero is spending his mornings working out with his older brother and his trainer, trying to sweat off, well, his doughiness. (But remember: He's a power hitter. He's entitled to a little largesse for largeness.) Marrero, listed at 210 pounds in last year's team media guide, now wants to remain at his current weight, about 225.

So what led him off course last year? Marrero attributes much of it to a poor diet.

"It's tough to eat right in the minors," he says. "To keep your weight and eat in the minors is tough. We're eating pizza every night after games, or whatever we can grab. You know, you get out of a game at 11 o'clock and everybody is hungry. The restaurants aren't open. So either you eat what [they have in the clubhouse], or you call Domino's."

Changing the post-game pattern for 2009, Marrero figures, won't be easy. But he wants to combat the greasy dinners with uber-healthy portions earlier in the day. Right now, while at home in Miami, he's getting plenty of practice.

"Right now, I'm living the life," he says. "I'll go into the gym three or four times a week, and I have my grandma cooking for me. She's making me breakfast in the morning. Eggs, oatmeal. Then I go to the gym. I come back, and the chicken is already ready. I have it easy, I'm not gonna lie."

This is a critical year for Marrero. In the injury-shortened 2008, Marrero hit .250 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 256 at bats, all with Class A Potomac. Marrero will either begin this year with the P-Nats or with Class AA Harrisburg. But those are just starting points.

"I want to make it to the big leagues by the end of this year [in September]," Marrero says. "It might not happen, but why not shoot for it?"

By Chico Harlan  |  January 12, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Chico - Thanks for the update on Marrero. It's definitely a big season developmentally for both him and the other high schoolers drafted by the Nationals in 2006.

Posted by: Brian_ | January 12, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@Chico

This is the kind of off-season stuff we baseball fans adore. It's not always about the machinations of the big club, but what's going on beneath the surface.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 12, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Slow down, Tubby; we're not on the moon yet.

I took my 2 year old son to Hagerstown to see Marrero play 2 seasons ago and he homered and doubled. So yeah, I have high hopes.

Posted by: WrongDog | January 12, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If he gets to Syracuse this year, maybe they could have him room with Dmitri.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 12, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Those of us who have spent days on the road on business travel know how difficult it is to eat healthy -- virtually everything conspires against it.

I imagine it's doubly difficult for minor leaguers, who keep weird hours playing exclusively night games and who, being kids, aren't likely to have the healthiest eating habits to begin with.

So here's my question: Given the significant investment the Nationals have in their minor league system, and the absolute criticality of having that system produce impact players -- and soon -- why not help these kids?

Why are they calling out for pizza after games instead of getting a decent meal provided for them? We can offer mega millions to a free agent but we can't pay peanuts to protect a long-term investment?

That's penny wise and -- I can't resist -- pound foolish.

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 12, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

First of all, thanks Chico. I hope this is the start of a string of pre-ST reports on the farm.

Carrying over from the last thread, I only put Crow's name in as a joke. But then I started to think about it. What if the Nats drafted him in 2009?

Think about it. With the new talent coming into this year's draft, along with the signability issue, Crow could fall to the point where his slot payment would make him a steal.

If the Nats draft him, they'll have the opportunity to get him for even cheaper than they could've had him last year. And he'd be up against the ropes in a sense, facing the prospect of waiting yet another year to play in the bigs if he doesn't sign.

Plus, it could go a little to address the hit the Nats took by not getting the deal done last year.

There'd be hard feelings, sure. But a prospect is a prospect.

Really, though, I think I just want the drama. And some comeuppance.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Crow would have to give his OK for the Nats to re-draft him per the rules of the draft. I trust that permission is not very likely to be granted.

Posted by: Brian_ | January 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Aha. Yet another rule about which I was unaware. Good to know the rules were written with jerks like me in mind.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

235? That's nothing. He's got 100 lbs to go before he can unseat Meat. Good to hear that our projected 2010 first baseman is rounding into form.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

With regard to the draft this year: Strasburg and a leadoff, high OBA batter would be great for the two top 10 picks this year. I know an emphasis on power is often put on top picks, but on a day when Rickey Henderson (definately) and Tim Raines (probably not) should be voted into the HOF it seems appropriate to look for that one player that solidifies your leadoff position for the next decade.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 12, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

No way Crow would sign for less $ then he was offered and no matter where he fell he'll ask for more then his slot. If he wanted to be here he'd already be here.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 12, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This on Zimmermann from the top-10 list over on BA:

"After starring as a two-way player for NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point as a sophomore in 2006, Zimmermann exploded onto the prospect landscape that summer in the Northwoods League. He posted a circuit-best 1.01 ERA and 92 strikeouts, boosting his draft stock and ranking as the league's No. 1 prospect. That offseason, he broke his jaw in two places when he was struck by a line drive while throwing live batting practice in a workout. He missed the first three games of the season and lost 10 pounds, then had his wisdom teeth removed during the season. Zimmermann battled through the adversity, earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the Division III College World Series, where he pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 10 strikeouts against Emory (Ga.), and batted .615 with two homers in four games as a DH."

So there you have it -- all Marrero needs to do is to break his jaw and have his wisdom teeth removed, and he'll lose weight and become a complete two-way player.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 12, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@Meridian1 - When I worked in a minor league clubhouse the Clubhouse Manager provided post-game meals that the guys would pay for. The meals weren't protein shakes with V8's, but were typically healthy enough.

Given their schedules, I don't actually think it is as hard as they claim to eat healthy. It's not like they are coming into the clubhouse at 8am the next day. They have time to go back to where the live and make a healthy meal. Many guys even live with host families who feed them, quite well often times too.

More than a majority would go out to drink after games multiple times per week, so it's hard to make the claim that they are putting their diets first regardless of what food options they are presented with.


It's more a matter of investing lots of money into developing players who aren't mature enough to make the right decisions. You can put fresh fruit and vegetables on the "trainer's table" post game, doesn't mean they'll eat it. They need to be taught decision making skills, and how to value their careers.

Posted by: ckstevenson | January 12, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, chances are Crow will drop lower in 2009, so no matter who picks him, there's a distinct chance his slot will dictate a lower offer than last year.

Either the team that selects him has to make a higher offer or Crow has to accept reality. Something's gotta give, right? It's a moot point as far as the Nats are concerned, though. No chance he gives Washington permission to draft him in 2009.

Also, great find, Bob L. Head. Zimmermann's my new favorite prospect.

-----

No way Crow would sign for less $ then he was offered and no matter where he fell he'll ask for more then his slot. If he wanted to be here he'd already be here.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Question - whoever signs Crowe, do they have an extended period to negotiate with him (similar to what the Mariners had this year with their first rounder) since he has no college eligibility left? If that is the case, does that help or hurt his position? Seems that is more time his agents would have to hold a team over a barrel?

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 12, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@goexpos2 - The drafting team would have up until one week before the 2010 draft to negotiate with him before he re-enters the draft again.

He would continually re-enter the draft until he went through one undrafted at which point he would become a free agent.

Posted by: Brian_ | January 12, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Crow will probably have an awesome career, but if there was poetic justice, he will be drafted by the Padres or Pirates next year. I'd settle for the Rangers or Reds. Preferably some team with a band box for a park and a history of not making the playoffs.

I mean really. What kind of idiot expects to be drafted in the first ten rounds by a good team. If they were good teams, they would not be picking in the top ten. And the Hendricks brothers should be ashamed of themselves. How is this in the best interests of their player. The Nats got criticized for not closing the gap on asking price vs. offer, but the player and the agent bear a responsibility there too. If the player wanted to be signed, he would have signed.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 12, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update Chico. I would have liked such details, though, such as his height, '07 weight, and '07 and current body fat. It's difficult piecing together a trend from the post.

Posted by: jctichen | January 12, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

JiMPls, the mock drafts I have seen have Crow going as early as 4th, so I'm not sure he's a lock to drop.

jctichen, BA's prospect handbook has Marrero at 210 in 2007 and 2008. So the dude may have put on 25 lbs of dough last year. You have to figure a high school kid is going to fill out a bit, but let's hope he can avoid adding more than his freshman fifteen.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 12, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and he's 6' 3".

Posted by: BobLHead | January 12, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

2016, Crow, a starter converted into a closer after a rash of injuries, will give up a walk-off grand slam to Chunky Marrero in game seven of the World Series.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I stand corrected again.

Really, though, 4th?

-----

JiMPls, the mock drafts I have seen have Crow going as early as 4th, so I'm not sure he's a lock to drop.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't seem out of the ordinary that a ballplayer would gain weight in the minors, especially during a year where he was injured and off his feet.

Posted by: jctichen | January 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, Chico. Here's hoping for for a healthier 2009 for Marrero.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 12, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping for a new post.

Oh wait, that just happened!

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 12, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, a wise guy, eh? :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 12, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

We never miss a chance
to get up and dance
and do the Curly (W) Shuffle!

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 12, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 13, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Spread out!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 13, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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