JULY 10: Hill’s contract was actually most recently extended about two years ago, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. At that point, two years were added to his existing deal (making five in total) to take him through 2020.
JULY 5, 10:21pm: With Miami’s ownership situation up in the air, commissioner Rob Manfred has said that the team would need to consult with the league before a potential fire sale, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
8:13pm: Owner Jeffrey Loria is set to sell the Marlins, but he won’t leave without first taking care of his most trusted employees. That list includes president of baseball operations Michael Hill, whom Loria recently awarded a five-year, $10MM-plus extension, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. There are also other Marlins executives with five-year agreements in place, Nightengale adds.
[RELATED: Taking Inventory Of Miami’s Trade Chips]
The Marlins are likely to sell for upward of $1.1 billion, so buying out front office employees’ contracts shouldn’t be a no-go for the team’s next ownership group if it’s so inclined. For now, the Hill-led franchise is ready to orchestrate a fire sale, per Nightengale, who writes that all of Miami’s players on multiyear contracts are available. At 37-45, the Marlins are well out of postseason contention and on their way to extending their playoff drought to 15 years. They haven’t finished over .500 in a season since 2009, when Hill was in his third season as their general manager. He took over as their president in 2013.
While Miami hasn’t fared well on the field, its off-field situation has also been disastrous. The Marlins are projected to lose $62MM this year, according to investors who have seen their books. They’re also approximately $500MM in debt, relays Nightengale, who notes that they have a major league-high $488MM in salary commitments. Moreover, they carry baseball’s lowest attendance rate and its least valuable television contract ($20MM per year through 2020). Those problems won’t be Loria’s for much longer, though.
“There are a lot of moving parts to this sale, no doubt, but it’s happening,’’ said Marlins president David Samson. “The timetable is the same. But it will be sold. It’s in the process right now.’’
In order to reduce the Marlins’ debt and make the franchise more appealing to buyers, Hill will work to jettison some of the team’s high-priced talent by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, owed $295MM through 2028 (if he doesn’t opt out after 2020), easily possesses Miami’s most onerous contract. The 27-year-old has the right to block a trade to any team, which could be problematic if the Marlins do find a taker, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that a Stanton deal isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem.
Aside from Stanton, the club’s big-money multiyear commitments include left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, outfielder Christian Yelich, third baseman Martin Prado, second baseman Dee Gordon, right-hander Edinson Volquez, and relievers Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa.
After the season, Chen will be able to opt out of the five-year, $80MM deal he signed with the Marlins before the 2016 campaign. That’s not going to happen, though, and nor is dumping Chen’s salary via trade. In his year-plus with the Marlins, Chen has underperformed and dealt with elbow injuries, the latest of which has kept him off the mound since May 1. The Marlins could also have a hard time moving Ziegler and Tazawa, both of whom have flopped in the first season of their two-year contracts. The 37-year-old Ziegler is on a $7MM salary this season and will rake in another $9MM in 2018. Tazawa, 31, is making $5MM now and due another $7MM in 2018.
Meanwhile, Prado (in the first season of a three-year, $40MM contract), Gordon (in Year 2 of a five-year, $50.5MM pact) and Volquez (in the first season of a two-year, $22MM accord) are realistic trade candidates, though Yelich is the one Marlin on a multiyear contract who could actually bring back a major return. By his standards, the 25-year-old is having a down campaign (.275/.356/.397 in 349 plate appearances), but he’s still a valuable commodity and has been a four-WAR player in two of his three full seasons. He comes with a highly appealing contract and plenty of team control, having inked a seven-year, $49.57MM deal that began in 2015. The pact also carries a $15MM club option or a $1.25MM buyout for 2022.
Elsewhere on the Marlins’ roster, they have several arbitration-eligible players they could cut ties with in the coming weeks. Those include outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who, like Yelich, would net a return that would help the Marlins significantly improve their bottom-of-the-barrel farm system. The big-hitting Ozuna, 26, is collecting $3.5MM this season and is scheduled to make two more trips through arbitration. Controllable and reasonably priced through 2018, relievers AJ Ramos ($6.55MM) and David Phelps ($4.6MM) are also among Marlins who should have some trade value.
Look the most dysfunctional franchise in all of baseball
Jeffrey Loria makes Lexine Finch look like a legitimate businessperson.
Maybe a few of the students “Lexine” referenced can buy MIA with their work-from-home internet earnings.
should have stayed the devil rays
Can’t wait until Loria is out of baseball. He’s the biggest jokes as owner in any of the 4 major professional sports
Dean Spanos would like a word with you.
Well that’s cause you were probably a Chargers fan…
Spanos and Loria are pretty neck and neck. Can Derek Jeter buy what used to be my Chargers?
Sorry, but Knicks fans have Jimmy Dolan. While not a Loria (who could be?) he’s extraordinarily talented at completely messing up a team—and making it unappealing at the same time.
I’m a Cleveland sports fan (so I have to support teams run by Dan Gilbert and Jimmy Haslam), and I wholeheartedly agree…and honestly it isn’t really that close. Marlins fans have my sympathy.
Well at least the Cavs are good and the Browns have plenty of good young talent
Oh for sure, I’m not discounting either of those things, but having those guys in charge is frustrating sometimes.
i’m not even a marlins fan and i cannot wait for him to be out of the sport. I feel for any fan who has to put up with owners like doran, loria, or gilbert
Before he completes the sale, Loria will announce a major event at Marlin’s Stadium for early September when they have Bud Selig Day. It will be a chance to celebrate how many hundreds of millions of dollars that he put into Loria’s pockets.
But he was Friends of Bud’s !
37-45… better give these guys a 5 year extension…
OK, makes total sense to me. Especially when trying to get out of debt to sell the team to a new group of owners who will want their own people in.
That was the point. He gave the 5 year extensions to take care of them. Sure the new ownership group will bring in their own people but they will have to pay the extensions
first U must find a buyer it looks to me a fire sale will not even help if the fans don’t come where does the money come from..I would get my farm system figured out first..get a few pieces & wait til free agency of 2018
So, if they conduct a fire sell prior to selling…
the price for the team should be a lot more.
If I bought that team. I would make them take that fish thing out before deal happened.
Should be a lot less is what I meant *
There has to be some way to make the taxpayer ante up again, right?
I’m waiting for MLBTR reports that janitors and peanut vendors are being cut.
Actually, I heard an obscure, still-binding clause in Dan Jennings’s GM contract will force him to come back soon as a peanut vendor.
Michael hill is so trashhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
But what about that important baseball thing that he did? And that key decision that I think he helped the Marlins make?
Wait, who’s Michael Hill again?
Who is the Dummy to put the Marlins in Miami why not Jacksonville…or Tampa bay…or Orlando…..Hell… why not Vegas to join the Raiders
have you not seen the crowd the rays draw? Ik miami doesn’t draw much either but tampa isn’t the answer
I don’t think Florida is the option at all
Just another day at the circus.
If only the Marlins could draw 3/4 or even half of the amount of people that were there for the WBC. Miami is like Los Angeles there is so much other stuff to do people don’t really care about going to sports but at least in la there is so many people that they still get crowds.
I also think that if they had a big time Cuban, Dominican or Puerto Rican star that’s not a pitcher because they had that with Fernandez and people only came to the ball park when he pitched but if it was a position player like cespedes or Jose abreu would draw better crowds
That’s not true. People didn’t come when Hanley was in his prime.
There’s just as much “stuff to do” in New York, San Francisco, or Chicago.
The Dodgers have had like 3 loss seasons since moving to LA, Miami probably has more than half that in 25 years.
Yes but his point is there are millions more people in those cities so they still can draw fans
Miami has the Good Players , But the Park too Big to have Fun Baseball games in , Bring the Fences in by 15 in alleys and 20 feet in center !
Loria is a hilariously terrible owner. I feel bad for the Marlins fans and people in Florida in general. Without a doubt the worst owner in baseball. And he’s right there with James Dolan and Dan Gilbert as the worst owners in sports.
If Stanton doesn’t opt out hes an idiot. He’ll never win in Miami. Hell never get protection in front of him or behind him. It’s the sa.e truth once Jose Fernandez passed away. The franchise died a little as well. Why else would the owner almost immediately want to see. He had virtual blood on his hands. I can’t see Derek Jeter turning it around at all. Especially if his partner is jeb Bush.