Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has a host of Marlins info in his latest column, including notes on Fernando Rodney, the team’s search for rotation upgrades, and the payroll.
The Marlins “have no plans” to exercise their club option on Rodney following the right-hander’s struggles in Miami, according to Jackson. As such, the 39-year-old appears set to receive a $400K buyout and enter the free-agent market in search of his eighth big league team. Rodney inked a one-year, $2MM contract with the Padres this past offseason and pitched brilliantly in San Diego, logging a 0.31 ERA in 28 2/3 innings with the Friars. That performance prompted the Marlins to part with a fairly well-regarded pitching prospect, right-hander Chris Paddack, in order to add Rodney to their bullpen. (Paddack has since undergone Tommy John surgery.) However, Rodney’s arrow-shooting opportunities in Miami were limited, as he regressed to a 3.95 ERA over his first two months with the Fish before turning in a dismal 11.57 ERA over the season’s final month (12 earned runs, 16 hits, eight walks, 10 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings).
On top of Rodney’s struggles in Miami, the financial component of his option undoubtedly plays a role in Miami’s reported inclination to pass on a reunion. The base salary on Rodney’s option, like his 2016 salary, was $2MM. However, the option was structured so that the price would increase to match any performance incentives he earned in 2016. Rodney finished 41 games between San Diego and Miami this season, earning him $2.5MM worth of incentives and subsequently boosting the price of his option to $4.5MM. As such, the Marlins effectively had a $4.1MM decision on their hands — exercise the option at $4.5MM or pay Rodney a $400K buyout — and elected not to pay a fairly notable rate for Rodney’s age-40 season.
In addition to Rodney’s overall performance, the Fish may simply not with to allocate that level of funds to a reliever when their payroll is already inflating in other areas. Miami’s payroll will go up in 2017, according to Jackson, but a large portion of those increases will come in the form of built-in raises to players like Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon and Wei-Yin Chen (plus arbitration raises for A.J. Ramos, Marcell Ozuna and others). With their guaranteed contracts and a number of arb-eligible players, the Marlins already figure to see their payroll pushed up into the upper-$60MM range, if not the low-$70MM vicinity. That’s a pittance for most teams, but the Marlins have only topped a $100MM payroll once (2012), and they look to be on track for their second-highest team payroll in history, even if that checks in somewhere around a modest $80-90MM.
One asset to which the team could dedicate some payroll is free-agent lefty Mike Dunn, with whom Jackson says the Marlins are interested in a reunion. Dunn’s 371 games with Miami are the most by any pitcher in franchise history, and he’s been a mainstay in the Miami ’pen since coming over in the 2011 trade that sent Dan Uggla to the division-rival Braves. Dunn missed time with a forearm strain this season but returned to ultimately log 42 1/3 innings of 3.40 ERA ball with 8.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9. Dating back to the 2013 season, he has a 3.38 ERA in 221 innings of relief with 242 strikeouts. Miami is also open to re-signing Bryan Morris, who was designated for assignment and outrighted after missing the majority of the season due to back surgery. Morris, of course, won’t be anywhere near as costly as Dunn, who figures to have a case for a multi-year pact in free agency.
Of course, the bullpen is hardly the only area of the pitching staff that needs to be addressed in Miami. The tragic death of Jose Fernandez is still difficult to process, but his absence leaves a glaring void in the starting rotation. The Marlins were always likely to pursue some degree of rotation help, but president of baseball ops Michael Hill said today: “Everything changed when we got that call about Jose.” The Marlins will be in the market for two starting pitchers, Jackson writes, and more importantly they’ll be willing to deal a position player in order to add some help to the rotation. Jackson lists defensive wizard Adeiny Hechavarria and the versatile Derek Dietrich as options, also adding that Ozuna could spend another offseason seeing his name in trade rumors if he can return a strong enough rotation arm.
Ozuna, of course, was the subject of many trade rumors last season and has only boosted his value after a terrific season in which he batted .266/.321/.452 with 23 homers in 608 plate appearances. That’s a near-mirror image of his breakout campaign as a sophomore in 2014 (.269/.317/.455, 23 homers, 612 PAs). Teams in need of outfield help — the A’s, White Sox, Blue Jays, Rays and Cardinals are some purely speculative possibilities on my end — figure to show plenty of interest in Ozuna if is indeed made available, but clubs willing to part with pitching talent will hold the leverage in trade talks this winter, given the paucity of available rotation options.
How can anyone cheer for the Marlins? They literally won’t go over 100 mil payroll. I applaud the old school Yankees and new school Dodgers. Those ownership groups pay top dollar to see their team win while the Marlins are a team that’s about collecting money. It’s a shame Fernandez passed, but he truly would’ve never been utilized in Miami anyway. Their ownership is one of, if not the biggest, jokes in sports. I get that you can only pay so much as your resources are limited, but why lie and say you’re here to compete… Complete bogus. If they wanted to compete, they would drop over 100 mil payroll. Nowadays, unless you suck for years on years (and draft guys that translate to the majors), you will never compete. They had their best year for awhile and just lost face of franchise in Fernandez. It’ll be tough for them to bounce back. I bet they even start selling.
“I bet they start selling’ is a weird conclusion to draw when they just shelled out $40 million to keep their third baseman from hitting free agency.
Look at 2012. They dropped big time money on those players and they ended Up selling by deadline 2013. I have no respect for their owner.
I can’t stand Loria any more than anyone else but blowing tons of money on FA and blowing tons of money retaining your own home grown stars is a little different.
Most other teams, yeah. But the Marlins are the one team that is hanging around waiting for a fire sell. It’s stupid that they got a new ball park. Same as the braves. Makes you appreciate Fenway and wrigley that much more.
Lol those parks are trash, wish they would burn
It took 51 years before the Braves got a stadium that had any say in the design (SunTrust Park). Fulton-County was designed for mixed-use play with the Falcons (until GA Dome), and Turner Field was built for Olympics, then two-thirds converted into park in terrible part of town. Fenway & Wrigley are truly one-of-a-kind, but the major differences is that the local communities around them flourished for the most part, while the southside of ATL – site of Fulton-County & Turner Field – hadn’t been thriving since 1910’s (!!!) Considering Braves depend more so on ticket sales than most teams, you could argue they needed a better stadium than most. Sure, it stinks that Turner Field should have last more than 20 years, and it could have without local politics. Whether you believe the assessment that it needed $400 million worth of upgrades or not – it could have been a whole lot better, especially if they did not build in the same dilapidated area as the previous stadium, or the city fulfilled its promise (in 1996) and actually attempted to revitalize the area. If only the Braves had half the money that CHC and BOS have had, maybe they could have built it themselves and own it where they don’t have to worry about other interests, but that’s not a luxury too many teams have.
Yeah I bet they are going to sell too! It’s sad Fernandez passing going to set them back yearsss!
When the Marlins are sitting around in last place by next deadline, they’ll start selling guys like Ozuna, Dee, Chen for prospects.
Ozuna and prospects for A’s Gray makes a lot of sense…
Have you even looked at their farm system recently? There isn’t a prospect in sight… and don’t say Kolek.
I think Ozuna and Adeiny for Gray and another Arm of Position player !!!!! agree with you Julyn82001
Padres should sign him again. Worked out well the first time lol
Ozuna was incredible in the first half, but more than terrible in the 2nd half. I’m not entirely sure if that coincides with Bour and Stanton going down for awhile, but those numbers are a large sample, and the most recent. I’m not sure if his value will be what it could be, especially since he rated terribly defensively in CF, despite what he has done previously. Knowing the Marlins, I honestly don’t know what they’ll do to add pitching. I’d try to trade Dee Gordon. I prefer Dietrich anyway. If he gets moved, that’s understandable at this point though. The Marlins have made almost nothing but terrible moves since mid-2014 (obviously trying to consider recent history). The only move they made that looked good going in, and remained that way, was the Prado and Phelps deal. They’ve put themselves in the position they were in woth their farm system, and even their major league roster. Now everything is multiplied times a lot more when you get hit in the face by the tragic, just still totally heartbreaking news that your ace, and literally the heart of the entire city is gone…They only have Koehler for another year, so that should be interesting. He was their most consistent starter all season, besides obviously Jose Fernandez. And then they have Conley coming off the innings limit and another DL stint, after he has had injuries in the past. They obviously need Chen to pitchill the way he is capable of, and multiple legit SPs. Honestly, they might be better off selling most everyone besides Stanton, Yelich, Realmuto, and maybe a couple of others, and maybe they can retool a little bit. They can hit, but that doesn’t mean anything, and they don’t have other ways to add talent to their organization when they do business the way they do. As a Marlins fan, whatever happens, I’m confident they’ll mess up, but for now, it’s hard to focus on anything besides the fact that Jose is really gone
Ozuna was dreadful after the break. Hitting .209 with 6 home runs. I mean yes his overall season is a big step up from 2015. But his trade value shouldn’t have skyrocketed from his performance. I guess his upside and value are greater then his actually numbers. I know you can’t base it all on numbers alone but that second half has to raise some red flags
It’s interesting that a pitcher who has been with the Marlins for 6 years (minus DL time) has the most games of any pitcher in team history.
Cubs last world series win = 1908. Marlins 2003.