Next in our Offseason In Review series, the Marlins.
Major League Signings: None
Notable Minor League Signings
- Mike MacDougal, Seth McClung, Derrick Turnbow, Jose Veras, Brian Barden, Mike Lamb, Donnie Murphy, Danny Richar, Hector Luna, Chris Schroder, Scott Strickland, Clay Hensley
- Josh Johnson, SP: four years, $39MM.
Trades and Claims
- Acquired P Jose Alvarez and P Hunter Jones from Red Sox for RF Jeremy Hermida
- Acquired Rule 5 pick 3B Jorge Jimenez, SS Luis Bryan, and P Robert Bono from Astros for RP Matt Lindstrom
- Jeremy Hermida, Matt Lindstrom, Ross Gload, Nick Johnson, Alfredo Amezaga, Kiko Calero, Brendan Donnelly
This was a typical Marlins offseason on the surface – no money spent on free agency, no arbitration offers to departing free agents, and a couple of salary dump trades. Still, the work of president Larry Beinfest and GM Michael Hill warrants a closer look.
The Marlins are known for pulling relievers off the scrap heap and getting good performances. Calero, Donnelly, and Brian Sanches were last year's minor league deal success stories. Chances are the Fish will squeeze the best out of MacDougal, McClung, Turnbow, and Veras, and they risked nothing. Lindstrom didn't have much trade value, as the best player the Marlins received was Jimenez (the eighth pick in the Rule 5 draft). Lindstrom is only costing the Astros $1.625MM this year, and you have to wonder if the Marlins sold low. In hindsight, the Marlins were right not to offer arbitration to Calero, who could only find a minor league deal and would have done better accepting arb coming off a 1.95 ERA.
Don't blame the Marlins for trading Hermida; he would've been a non-tender candidate for most teams. The Marlins are in good shape with a Chris Coghlan–Cameron Maybin–Cody Ross outfield. Credit Beinfest and Hill for hanging on to Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu, as trading either probably would've hurt the team's chances in 2010. There is some debate as to whether Type B free agent Nick Johnson deserved an arbitration offer, but that might've saddled the Marlins with a contract bigger than the $5.75MM deal he signed with the Yankees. I'll reserve judgment on the Marlins' choice not to bring in a different veteran first baseman, as Gaby Sanchez comes with a passable .270/.356/.430 projection.
The Marlins had no problem investing in young talent, as they locked up Josh Johnson for four years and showed a willingness to offer $20MM to Aroldis Chapman. It'd be overly simplistic to link either pursuit to the January 12th joint statement about the Marlins' use of their revenue sharing funds; the Johnson signing and Chapman offer were already well in the works.
Let's not get too crazy with our Marlins praise, though. Have they "consistently made every effort to put the best product on the field," as president David Samson said in the statement? The Marlins could point to their highest payroll in five years, a figure that will continue to rise. But a legitimate competing team would've at least added a starting pitcher or two, as the Marlins are all question marks after Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. I won't count out a management team that coaxed 87 wins out of $37MM last year, but on paper the Marlins don't appear to be contenders.