While the Marlins are hoping to shed as much as $50MM in salary — reportedly by moving players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Martin Prado and Dee Gordon — the team still believes in its core more cost-efficient young bats, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. In fact, Frisaro writes that the Fish are still hoping to improve their starting pitching this offseason even in the midst of shedding payroll, with a belief that the team can still contend in 2018. It’s not entirely clear how Miami intends to supplement what is presently an extremely thin rotation, though presumably they’ll seek to add some young arms in marketing both Stanton and Gordon. If enough payroll is shed, the club could theoretically look to add some affordable arms on the free-agent market, though it seems unlikely that they’d be in play for anything other than low-cost back-of-the-rotation arms or reclamation projects.
More out of the NL East…
- Though Mets hitting coach Kevin Long was passed over for the Nationals’ managerial opening after interviewing, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports (via Twitter) that Long is in consideration to become the hitting coach under newly minted Nats skipper Dave Martinez. Long has spent the past 10 seasons as a big league hitting coach — seven with the Yankees and three with the Mets — and played a hand in helping current Nats slugger Daniel Murphy take his game to a new level. Long’s contract with the Mets is up at upon conclusion of the World Series, though there’s not yet any definitive word that he will not be returning to the Mets in 2018.
- Newsday’s Marc Carig writes that at the time he signed with the Mets, Nori Aoki and his representatives asked the team to release him well in advance of the non-tender deadline if it was determined that he wouldn’t be offered arbitration for the 2018 season. The Mets honored that request on Monday, releasing the 35-year-old veteran outfielder and making him a free agent. Aoki posted a rather light .272/.323/.371 batting line in 224 plate appearances with the Astros this season, but he batted a much more impressive .284/.353/.425 with three homers, eight doubles and a triple in his final 150 PAs of the season between the Blue Jays and Mets.
- Phillies Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan didn’t ultimately land the team’s managerial job but still could land on manager Gabe Kapler’s coaching staff, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. The 44-year-old Wathan will return to the organization in 2018 no matter what, as he’s currently under contract for next season as the Triple-A manager, Zolecki notes. Because Kapler is entering his first stint as an MLB manager, the Phils will likely have a couple of veteran coaches on his staff, Zolecki continues, but they’ll also likely bring in some younger coaches that are in the same vein as Kapler himself. Zolecki runs down a number of potential candidates, so Phils fans will want to check out the column in full.