Uggla, Johnson May Benefit From Marlins Payroll Edict

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.       

32 Responses to Uggla, Johnson May Benefit From Marlins Payroll Edict Leave a Reply

  1. It’s good to see the Marlins having to expand payroll. have a more balance competition even though they are pretty good already.

  2. Guest 6 years ago

    They had two great season in 08 and 09 and plus Oliver Perez gets paid more than any of their players. They shouldn’t be criticized for anything.

    • They hardly ever lock up any of their players long-term, and have the lowest payroll. If you don’t try to lock up players, you aren’t trying to put the best possible team on the field for your fans. That’s what’s being criticized.

      And the Mets are always going to give out bad contracts, so you have a moot point.

    • YanksFanSince78 6 years ago

      What does Oliver Perez have to do with the conversation? Bottom line is, the Marlins are pocketing money, meanwhile trading away young and talented players coming into their arbitration years. How can that be a good thing?

  3. While the Pirates may have spent $64 MM more than the Marlins, a LOT of that went into signing bonuses for draft picks. This year, though, they drafted Tony Sanchez in the #4 spot but didn’t pay him “slot money.” The long and short of it is, the Pirates are spending their revenue sharing $$$ on players, but they’re doing so on the farm system rather than the major league team. Yes, they picked up Akinori Iwamura via trade, and signed Bobby Crosby and (supposedly) Ryan Church. But they also non-tendered Matt Capps, who made about half as much as those 3 contracts combined. They’re also dangling Ryan Doumit for trade, and possibly Zach Duke and/or Paul Maholm, who are all among the highest paid players on the team. This is a team that needs MLB and the union to “guide” a re-direction of their revenue sharing $$$ to the major league roster. Look at the Royals… at least they’re trying and they’re spending money (Gil Meche, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz and now Jason Kendall and Noel Arguelles.) The Pirates could at least LOOK like they’re trying.

    • While there must be an effort to make the on-field bigs product a competitive one, the general feeling is that they’re paying for past sins from previous ownership groups by re-stocking a farm system that was crap. Is it improving the big league team? Today, no, its not. Is it going to improve the team down the road? We hope.

      I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that just because they’re not pouring money into the big leagues right now doesn’t mean they’re not improving the product. Sorry folks, I’d rather have something to look forward to rather than having an almost 500-team that never has any more upside than that.

  4. Super_Hero 6 years ago

    I thought the whole argument of revenue sharing was that small market teams couldn’t keep their best players because other team with more money will out-bid them. so they get revenue sharing to offer more money to their best players and other improvements on the Major League Team to complete with the rest of the league. Instead they still trade there best players so they don’t have to pay them. As bad as the Yankee spending has been, Pirates and Marlins are just as bad for not spending. There should be a Cap and a Limit.

    • bbxxj 6 years ago

      Please don’t lump the Pirates in with the Marlins. Their trades weren’t salary dumps considering they ate a good amount of the salary in each to get more talent in return.

  5. djperalta 6 years ago

    Sabean needs to get his head checked. I really dont understand how he could not put a package together that would be of a good value to Florida for Uggla. Instead, they pick up Aubrey F***kin Huff….what a joke. A 35 year old, declining, B- @ best hitter even in his prime. Picking up Uggla, letting him play 1B, would have given the Giants the actual bat they need…rather than wishing on another f***kin star that Huff will “rebound” in a new uniform and atmosphere (like the Garko move). So tired of this front office and their more than deficient ability to recognize their true fault and adjust the roster correctly during the off-season. Good luck Uggla, I hope you find a team that will respect your ability, consistency and true power. Go F**K yourself Brian Sabean.

  6. Ian_Smell 6 years ago

    Thank you, bbxxj. Very few people seem to understand the Pirate’s plan.

    • Ferrariman 6 years ago

      Basically the bucs are trying to do what the rays did, build a ridiculous farm and then get some good years in

    • bbxxj 6 years ago


      I don’t really care one way or the other about the Pirates but I am very interested in rebuilding projects so I’m interested in the Pirates. I really like what I am seeing so far from NH and his gameplan. It may never work out but at least he has a focused plan to build a championship team and is giving a full out go at it.

      Many on here are just sheep following talking points and don’t really know what they are talking about. I’m wrong alot but I try and form my own opinoins. Talking heads like Colin Cowherd get the masses all in frenzy about the Pirates and all of their trades. I just about blew a gasket when somone called into his show saying the Pirates were being cheap in their draft too because they had signed fewer picks than other teams and Colin agreed and went on a shreak-page… but this was well before the signing deadline where suprise suprise the Bucs signed alot of high priced late round over slot prospects proving once again that ESPN and other mainstream media along with the bumbling masses have very little clue about what Pit is really trying to do and how they are going about doing it.

  7. Kind of tough to measure these sort of things. The Pirates have spent a lot more than the Marlins, but have spent it a heck of lot less wisely over the last few years. I think that’s pretty evident in their records. The Pirates, with their long streak of suckitude, have not been doing it mainly because they have been outspent. They have done it because they have been pretty unwise (“Hey, let’s just dump that guy Oli Perez! He’s awful, yo! Certainly, we couldn’t bear to hold on to him at a reasonable price until he turns around and then flip him for a good return! Let’s dump the chump.”) They’ve only turned this around over the last year and change.

    The Marlins have been smart with their moves, but they’re horribly cheap. I can only think of two teams that fall into this category, and the other one is the Padres (a lesser offender, but still). I would say that both these teams should be encouraged to put more money into the teams on the field. It’s not like signing FA in a losing season has to be a lost cause. If you sign a guy after a bad year and he turns out good, you can flip him for prospects. It’s a great thing to do with pitching, in particular. The Padres know how to do this, but their ownership is such a mess they aren’t lately. The Marlins just plain aren’t willing to make any investment past the minimum with their team, and since they’re getting free money they should be pushed to throw in some of their own dough also.

    • BeatEmBucs 6 years ago

      1) You mention a trade made by the former Pirates GM as an example of there lack of spending, or bad decisions, or whatever. Seems like a moot point, but you do go on to say that they’re changing it around. Anyways, I’ll never be a Dave Littlefield apologist, but do you really think that Oliver Perez for Xavier Nady was a bad trade?

      2) Why do the “Pirates” speak in a New Yorkish kinda lingo and not more Yinzerish?

      • 1. Actually, I was just pointing out one of what I would consider relatively bad decisions. I will say this. I think it was a fair trade, given Perez’s play at that point in time (a mess). However, Perez was traded at a point where his value was around its lowest. If they traded him at the start of the season, or midseason the next year (where he once again produced his ‘every 3rd year good season’) then they could have been come out better. I still feel it was a sell-low scenario, and for no good reason. If a guy has been inconsistent his whole career, doesn’t it make sense to flip him when he’s doing well at least (as opposed to at his lowest)?

        But fair enough. I should have listed a bad signing instead. Change my answer to Burnitz. Signed for too much, too old, in a season where he was unlikely to help them compete anyways. Signings like that are a difference from the Marlins, who sign no FA, and account for at least some of the paid-out salary difference.

        2. And sorry. I really should have attempted a western PA accent: “Wewlll, Burnitz used to be good n’ that. Yinz need to signed him.” Though to be quite honest, I can’t imagine anyone actually from Pittsburgh clamoring for a late 30’s Burnitz, so I assume the accents would only belong to folks in the front office (who are probably not Yinzers anyways). Also, as a guy living in Philly right now, you western PA folks are an odd bunch with your accents. Sometimes I feel like there’s almost no accent, and then I run into some folks who just make outlandish pronunciations for no obvious reason.

        • BeatEmBucs 6 years ago

          lol, I’m not from Western PA, but that one was better. I can’t do the accent/lingo very well other than add “n’at” to everything. I don’t know where Huntington is from off the top of my head, but he should have a decent impersonation by now.

  8. bjsguess 6 years ago

    The Players Union should be focused on why some teams are always terrible instead of worrying about the Marlins payroll. When they suck and don’t spend money go ahead and criticize. However, the Marlins have been incredibly successful given their limited resources.

    The stadium they play in is total crap. People in Miami don’t care about MLB. Regardless of their success, the team just doesn’t pull in big revenues. A new stadium will help, but it won’t alter the equation fundamentally.

    It would be nice if ownership kicked in a little more but the problem will remain the same. If every possible cent was poured back into payroll the Marlins would still only have 1/4th the payroll of the Yankees.

    Until a cap is put in place I see no reason for a floor to be present.

    • mlbfanmiami 6 years ago

      while you are right about the players union needing to focus their attention on some teams that suck and the marlins field a good project withour putting any money into it. Ownership practically steals money from revenue sharing when its suppossed to be put into payroll. They have had solid teams when being cheap, but they could have been real better if they spent to keep Cabrera, Beckett, amng other Marlin great. Not to mention Loria is practically gettinga new stadium for free in Miami. There are fans in South Florida, I consider myself a big fan. Point is they have fielded good teams, but if ownership stops being cheap, stops stealing this money and spends they will make the playoffs more often

    • penpaper 6 years ago

      “Until a cap is put in place I see no reason for a floor to be present.”

      Of course but the chances of a minimum payroll is more likely than a maximum limit due to the player’s union.

    • jb226 6 years ago

      That’s because you misunderstand the point of the Player’s Union or wish they served some other purpose. They couldn’t care less what teams are competitive or the reasons they are or aren’t; all they care about is that their players get the most possible money and aren’t treated poorly. To that end, “you’re not spending enough on payroll” is explicitly within their problem domain.

      More specifically, they’re being given money from other teams with the expectation that they spend it on payroll. It doesn’t matter how much the Yankees or anybody else is spending. The only pertinent question is “are the teams receiving revenue sharing funds using them the way they’re supposed to?” If so, fine. If not, they need to be forced to do exactly that or the rule needs to be completely abolished. If that means a team like the Marlins gets contracted, then so be it. Those are really the choices.

      That’s the reason a “floor” is present, and it’s not even really much of a floor. More of a “if you’re not spending at least as much on your payroll as you’re being given to spend on your payroll, you’d better start explaining what you ARE spending it on.”

    • Also, a floor has been criticized because it forces teams to overspend on junky players when they’re going to be uncompetitive anyways or the FA market is weak. A better system would be a floor where any money not spent is placed in an escrow earmarked for salary spending. So basically, you always lose the money to salary but you’re not forced to spend it at any particular time. That ensures that owners don’t just pocket the money, but forces a minimum investment into the organization.

    • If the Marlins can be good with their current payroll imagine how good they would be if they decided to spend some more? It has nothing to do how big the other teams payroll is. People say Yanks are bad for baseball, teams that pocket all the money are bad for baseball.

      A salary cap only forces teams to give less money to players, again giving more money to the owners. If I was a player, don’t talk to me about a cap.

  9. Cosmo3 6 years ago

    In the past decade and a half, the marlins have won two world series, and put out a very competitive team every year. Maybe Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald should “break the story” of how Jim Hendry has four times the money that the Marlin’s GM has, and 1/4 the brain

    • Both times the won it was bcus they went out and spent money. When the won in 97 the sign Sheff, M. Alou, Lieter, B. Bonilla and some more.

  10. I wouldn’t hate on the Marlins too much, they spend top dollar on player development, and they just put in a competitive bid for Chapman.

    They also spend money when it matters. The Fish have signed in Urbina, Armando Benitez, Carlos Delgado, Ivan Rodriguez and other impact free agents. I can’t even remember the last impact free agent the Pirates have brought in.

    You can win with a limited budget if you have a plan. The Rangers had all the money in the world but until they had a plan they didn’t have a shot.

  11. Guest 6 years ago

    I just hope other low payroll teams, including my Padres, also get the message and are willing to keep payroll roughly proportional to revenue. We just recently got a new park, yet we are only outspending the Marlins (and by only $6 million last year). But surely I must be stupid for making such a suggestion.

  12. bigpupp 6 years ago

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. This isn’t the first time an article has been written about this exact thing. They didn’t expand payroll then, they probably won’t now either

  13. YanksFanSince78 6 years ago

    People are clearly missing the point of MLB stepping in with regards to the Marlins lack of spending. The entire point of revenue sharing wasn’t to increase a teams profit margin, or at least not directly. It was to TRY and bridge the gap, even if just a little, so that some teams have additional funds to allocate towards players inorder to retain or add talent and put forth a better product. Even though the Marlins have managed to produce in some seasons is anyone REALLY going to disagree with the notion that the Marlins would be BETTER if they can retain Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson and Jorge Cantu? If anything, the Marlins have been successful DESPITE themselves. The best way I could compare what the Marlins do is to compare them to a welfare mother who spends her checks on beer, lotto and smokes instead of paying the electric bill, buying the kids a computer or even purchasing decent clothes for them to wear to keep kids from teasing them, but then she points at the fact that her 5th and 7th grader both have straight A’s on their report cards and says “See, I am a good Mom”. In those cases the kids succeed despite their mother NOT because of her. If the Marlins are going to be allowed to pocket $30 mil every year and continue to ship off their top talent w/o being punished by MLB then I don’t want to hear a single word about how much the Yanks, Sox or Angels spend. If no one is willing to speak of how the Marlins DON’T spend their money then no one should talk about how other teams DO spend their money.

    • I think this is the best post about this topic I have read in here. Big budget team, specially the Yanks get attack some much here for spending too much, when you have these teams pocketing the money they are supposed to use to be competitive and they don’t and they still blame the Yanks. That is just ignorant.

  14. chris530 6 years ago

    Farnsworth is a very good fighter, best in baseball. The royals should be proud to have him.

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