9:25pm: The Biz Of Baseball's Maury Brown looks at some of the big-picture reasons why MLB and the union may have made this announcement when they did.
7:07pm: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald broke the story of MLB and the MLBPA criticizing the Marlins for not spending enough of their revenue-sharing money on player payroll. In a follow-up blog post, Spencer said this "public flogging" may be an incentive for the team to spend on the two players who have carried the most buzz this winter --- Dan Uggla and Josh Johnson.
Uggla has been at the center of several trade rumors (most notably with the Giants) as the Fish were looking to avoid paying their slugging second baseman a large arbitation raise for 2010. Recently, however, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the Marlins haven't found a trade package to their liking and were looking at keeping Uggla for the start of the season. Uggla made $5.3MM in 2009 and, as Spencer notes, is likely to earn between $7-8MM next season after arbitration. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports calls the Uggla situation "a fascinating test case" for how Florida will adjust to the MLB/MLBPA scrutiny.
As for Johnson, the Marlins have been discussing a long-term deal with their ace right-hander but the sticking point seems to be Florida's unwillingness to give Johnson a guaranteed fourth year on the contract. We learned that negotiations between the club and pitcher were re-opening this week, and Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick may have a bit of extra leverage given that the eyes of both the league and the union are taking a close look at how the Fish do business. Johnson is under team control through 2011, but it certainly wouldn't look good if Florida again passed on giving one of their young stars a big contract.
In regards to other low-spending teams, Spencer described Tuesday's announcement as "a signal" that unusually small payrolls would be under closer watch, citing the Pirates specifically. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Bucs aren't facing a similar probe and notes that Pittsburgh spent $64.4MM more on payroll than the Marlins did between 2006-2008.