Jarred Cosart isn’t afraid to speak — or tweet — his mind.
Ask him about last month’s trade in which the Astros dealt him to the Marlins, and he will tell you he’s as happy as the day he was traded to Houston, his hometown.
“I was ready to win,” Cosart said of coming to Miami, a take-that jab at Houston and something not too many players have said after joining the Marlins.
Ask him about the his post on Twitter in February that got him in trouble, one in which he made an anti-gay slur about Justin Bieber, and he will shrug.
“I don’t regret anything I’ve said, even though sometimes I have to watch what I say, and you apologize for it and move on,” said Cosart, who took down the tweet and apologized after it caused an uproar. “I definitely say how I feel, and that’s how I feel about that situation.”
Lest anyone wonder whether Cosart is the second coming of Logan Morrison, the Marlins’ loquacious former first baseman, it’s worth noting that the pitcher has one-tenth the followers on the social media forum and — save for the Bieber barb — has sparked far less controversy.
Still, Cosart is quick to admit, “I’ve been in trouble a time or two for saying something.”
The Marlins, obviously, would prefer that Cosart, 24, allow his arm to do all his talking. Cosart will be making his third start for the Marlins on Tuesday when they open a two-game series against the Texas Rangers.
With a .500 record, the Marlins are 3 1/2 games back in the wild card race.
“I think we can make a run at it,” Cosart said. “If we get on a streak, who knows what’s going to happen?”
Cosart comes from an athletic family.
A grandfather, Ed Donnelly, pitched briefly in the majors, appearing in nine games and going 1-1 for the Chicago Cubs in 1959. His mother and aunt excelled at softball at the high school and collegiate levels. And brother Jake pitched at Duke University and is now in his first minor-league season in the Red Sox farm system.
Cosart, who was born and raised in League City, Texas, about 25 miles southeast of Houston, isn’t one-dimensional. He plays the saxophone in his spare time and was an All-State band member in high school.
“I went to a private school and in fourth grade, we had to choose — band or choir,” he said. “I could never sing.”
Cosart signed a letter of intent to play at Missouri but ended up signing with Philadelphia when the Phillies took him in the 38th round of the 2008 draft. At the July trade deadline in 2011, the Phillies dealt Cosart and several other prospects to the Astros for Hunter Pence. Cosart was ecstatic. He was going home.
When he made his big-league debut against the Tampa Rays on July 12, 2013, Cosart took a no-hitter into the seventh before Ben Zobrist broke it up with a one-out single. He ended up earning the victory by delivering eight shutout innings while allowing only two hits.
Cosart went 10-8 with a 3.57 ERA in 30 starts for the Astros before the Marlins came calling and worked out a trade in which prospects Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran were sent to Houston. Flush with pitching prospects who are moving up in their system, the Astros felt that Cosart was expendable.
But in one post-trade analysis by a national baseball writer, it was suggested that the Astros might have been willing to trade Cosart because of character issues, such as the Bieber tweet.
“That’s the only issue I ever had in the organization,” he said.
Otherwise, Cosart disputes the notion that character issues had anything to do with Astros trading him.
“I think if you ask anyone in Houston, or any one of my friends, I think they’d think that’s pretty crazy,” Cosart said. “When someone gets traded, there’s always speculation, and 15 guys are going to say it’s because I wasn’t performing, 15 guys are going to say I got a good deal, and 15 guys are going to say I have problems.”
One thing is certain: Cosart was happy to be out of Houston and in Miami. He believes the Marlins are closer than the Astros to getting back on top.
“To get out and come to a team that is young and very competitive is very fun,” Cosart said. “Nothing against the guys [in Houston], but I think it’s going to take a lot longer [to field a winning team] than what everyone’s thinking over there. I wish them the best. But if we’re being realistic, that’s just a personal opinion. I’m sure they think differently.”
After the trade, Cosart said he read or heard that Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, in praising the pitcher, commented that he would entertain the idea of Cosart one day returning to Houston as a free agent.
Cosart smiled slyly.
“Like I said, I speak my mind,” Cosart said while putting on his Marlins uniform. “And I don’t think I’ll be going back there. If you wanted me bad enough, you would have kept me. So I’m here now, and I’m trying to help this team win a World Series.”
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