The Marlins have been somewhat surprisingly tied to names like Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins’ pursuit of the market’s top closers is coming at the urge of owner Jeffrey Loria. Spencer notes that signing any of the “big three” available closers would push Miami well past a $100MM payroll for just the second time in franchise history, but Loria is seemingly comfortable with that fact. According to Spencer, the Marlins’ payroll could rise as high as $115MM next year.
Right-hander Mark Melancon is reportedly nearing a deal with the Giants, which would leave Jansen and Chapman as the top two potential targets for Miami. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported last night that the Marlins were willing to offer upward of $80MM to Jansen despite the qualifying offer that is attached to his name. And, earlier this morning, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Loria “loves” Chapman and has been speaking directly to the agents for the top relievers himself thus far.
Either Jansen or Chapman would be a massive boost to Miami’s relief corps and would give the team a potentially dominant late-inning trio, as right-handers A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough both have gaudy strikeout numbers. It’s been rumored that the Marlins could field offers for Ramos this winter, though, so there’s obviously some degree of fluidity in the organization’s plans to solidify its pitching staff.
Also of note for Marlins fans, FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter) that they’re interested in veteran A.J. Ellis as a potential backup to young catcher J.T. Realmuto. Jeff Mathis has been Miami’s reserve catcher in recent seasons, but he recently inked a deal with the Diamondbacks, leaving the Fish in the market for some catching help.