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The Marlins will enter the offseason focused on trading some veterans and gathering up as much young talent as possible.
- Wei-Yin Chen, SP: $42MM through 2020 (plus vesting/player option)
- Martin Prado, 3B: $15MM through 2019
- Starlin Castro, 2B: $12MM through 2019 (plus club option)
Arbitration Eligible Players (projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)
- J.T. Realmuto – $6.1MM
- Derek Dietrich – $4.8MM
- Dan Straily – $4.8MM
- Jose Urena – $3.6MM
- Miguel Rojas – $2.6MM
- Adam Conley – $1.3MM
- Bryan Holaday – $1.2MM
- Non-tender candidates: Rojas, Holaday
[Miami Marlins Depth Chart | Miami Marlins Payroll Information]
The Marlins have already knocked out a key piece of offseason business, landing Cuba’s Mesa brothers off of the international market. Elder brother Victor Victor Mesa may not be too far from the majors, though surely the Miami organization will take care not to rush him.
After all, there are no expectations that the team will be competitive at the MLB level in the near future. The Marlins won 63 games in 2018 after an offseason chock full of change. Most of the veteran players that weren’t dealt over the winter, but could be moved over the summer, ended up heading out the door.
That’s not to say, of course, that there weren’t some exceptions. First and foremost is catcher J.T. Realmuto. While the organization insists it intends to pursue an extension with the 27-year-old, who emerged in 2018 as arguably the game’s best overall backstop, it’ll be hard pressed to convince him to sign on (at least, at a palatable rate of pay).
It seems quite likely, then, that the Marlins will at least entertain trade offers. Perhaps it’s likelier still that the club will once again act as auctioneer, asking rivals with interest in Realmuto to come forward with offers. With two more years of affordable control remaining, Realmuto has a rather appealing contractual situation to go along with his on-field excellence and a significant amount of demand at the position.
The Marlins will need to choose wisely from the offers they receive on Realmuto, assuming that’s the route they take, because he’s the last top shelf label behind the bar. That said, the club does have some other candidates to move.
Starter Dan Straily is arguably the next-most valuable veteran asset, though rough peripherals lurked behind his 4.12 ERA from the 2018 campaign. Left-handed-hitting utilityman Derek Dietrich has produced above the league average with the bat in each of the past four seasons, though his glovework isn’t much-loved by metrics. And though he hasn’t drawn much interest over the past year, second baseman Starlin Castro has turned in consecutive solid campaigns and would seemingly represent a useful piece for the right organization. Finally, it’s not too hard to imagine southpaw Adam Conley being moved; interest may not be all that great, but he has had his moments and is still affordable and controllable.
Other potential trade assets seem less likely. The Marlins would dearly love to free their payroll of some of what’s owed to Wei-Yin Chen and Martin Prado, but it’s hard to imagine either will be candidates to move unless and until they show some life in the first half of the 2019 campaign. Dealing more youthful players likely won’t make a ton of sense, though perhaps it’s not possible to rule that out. Drew Steckenrider has loads of cheap control remaining, but he’s a reliever and therefore arguably ought to be cashed in if the price is right. Starter Jose Urena, who is in his first year of arbitration eligibility, probably shouldn’t be taken off the shelf entirely. It’s always possible another team will come calling with an offer that’s too good to pass up, as the Marlins themselves did to acquire Straily.
If it seems as if this post has dwelled quite a bit on what the Marlins might part with, well, that’s because the time still doesn’t seem ripe for this club to begin building up in earnest. What does the MLB roster need, in particular? Talent, anywhere and everywhere.
Indeed, third baseman/corner outfielder Brian Anderson is arguably the only youthful position player who has fully locked up a roster spot before camp opens. Otherwise, beyond the short-term veterans mentioned above — any one of whom could be traded — there’s immense uncertainty. After a nice 22-game run at the plate, long-time minor-league slugger Peter O’Brien arguably has the inside track at first base, which he could share in part with a healthy Garrett Cooper (who’s also a possibility in the corner outfield). JT Riddle could handle a chunk of the time at short. In the outfield, Lewis Brinson might be allowed to sink or swim in the bigs but could also end up back at Triple-A. Monte Harrison isn’t far from getting his first shot and Magneuris Sierra is also among the other near-term possibilities.
Given that state of affairs, there’s opportunity aplenty in Miami, which should make it a popular destination for young-ish castaways looking for a shot at the big leagues. The Marlins front office will no doubt look for ways to take advantage of the situation, including waiver claims, the Rule 5 draft, minor-league signings, and trades for players that don’t quite fit on other 40-man rosters. At the end of the day, there isn’t a single position on the diamond where existing options will cause the club to shy away from taking a low-risk chance on a player they really like. (Even Anderson, after all, isn’t locked into a single position.)
The state of affairs is a bit different on the pitching side, though there are quite a few openings there as well. The Fish hooked some interesting arms last year, with Caleb Smith and Trevor Richards emerging as cost-efficient starters with some promise. Since the Marlins will want to see if Chen can pitch his way back into a tradeable asset, the starting five cold be set with Urena and Straily.
Of course, the Marlins could choose to be aggressive and find a way to put top prospect Sandy Alcantara back in the rotation despite his walk problems in a six-game stint in 2018. There are also quite a few other young starters on the 40-man — most notably, out-of-nowhere righty Pablo Lopez — which perhaps provides added impetus to the notion of dealing away one or more of the veterans.
There are pitching options, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean the Marlins will hesitate to pick up intriguing rotation pieces should they see a way to do so at a nice value. If that creates any 25-man and/or 40-man roster pressures, then the leftover arms can slide into a bullpen that is quite light on sure things. Having already traded away Kyle Barraclough, the Marlins’ most experienced relievers are now pitchers like Conley, Nick Wittgren, and Jarlin Garcia. While existing players can fill out the relief corps, it’s another area that’s fully susceptible of improvement.
In this situation, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins really even having much preference at all other than to get the most talented possible players into the organization. There’s little sense in resolving would-be logjams before they exist. While that makes for a rather boring offseason preview piece, it also leaves the door wide open for a creative and fruitful winter.
Am rooting for you Derek. The backlash you’ve taken has been from sheep, who will be the first to praise you.
Eh, maybe. He hasn’t proven anything yet. He’s dealt Stanton, yelich, ozuna, Gordon, etc. still not even a top 100 prospect on MLB.com to show for it. Not sure I have any reason to believe in what he is doing but I could end up being wrong.
His one problem was he did not have any leverage with Stanton, but the other problem was the lack trade potential overall. He could only trade with teams who truly thought they’d make the play-offs, as more than half the league was tanking. In addition to that, most of those teams in contention, already had good talent at the positions he was seeking to deal, that is terrible timing, and put him at a serious disadvantage. It is still early, sometimes prospects come around, it’s way too early to tell.
Yes he should get time to see if his deals work out but he shouldn’t get a pass just because he is Jeter. So far he hasn’t done anything great and just got rid of payroll. He needs to take time and not trade any of the remaining assets just to trade. The team is very bad with only a couple of assets. They should take a chance on a couple rule 5 picks. Trade Realmuto at winter meeting for a a package of young prospects that are ready this year. His signing of a 16 y o starter is a big gamble. A lot can happen in the next 5 years not many have worked out.
Let’s just get this out of the way now: Peter O’Brien got rave reviews for his performance this past September.
But can he pitch?
I think that Luke Voit is the guy that the fish should get to play first base.
The Yankees would swap him for Castro. Why, Mr. Meter loves to save money and the Yankees need an infielder that can play 2nd and 3rd base. Surely Meter would jump at a chance to save 11 million in payroll.
Lol. The Yankees could get Starlin back for mike ford if they agree to pay Castro’s whole salary.
Aww man haven’t heard that one in awhile here. Really put a smile on my face.
mlb needs to fold this aaa franchise or move them to portland or new Orleans
Portland is not an MLB city, and I’ve never heard New Orleans brought up as an MLB destination. Vegas, San Antonio, Charlotte, Nashville, and Indy as a dark horse for both the Rays or Mariners.
wow..meant to say Marlins and not Mariners..
The Marlins AAA franchise in New Orleans is slated to move to Wichita after the 2019 season already…
Do Montreal a solid and send them there.
Marge Schott's Lovechild
If the Marlins moved, would anyone in Miami notice?
Marlins man and the lady that cried at the town hall meeting that the Marlins traded Stanton and Ichiro
The Marlins did not trade Ichiro
I know I believe that is what that lady said
Of course, all 10 of the Marlins fans would definitely notice.
The artist of that hideous sculpture.
You mean awesome sculpture. They’re getting rid of it anyways this year
Their moving it right outside the stadium.
The Marlins AAA franchise in New Orleans is slated to move to Witchita after next season…
2 time World Champs.
But they have never won the division. And after each WS win they salary dumped the team.
2 WS Rings >>>>>>>>>>> Division title.
There is no “But” you play for a ring not a worthless banner for a division if you fail in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have won their Division the past six years, haven’t won a World Series since 1988, and won’t be winning it this year.
As both the Marlins and the Dodgers have proven, winning your division doesn’t mean a thing if you’re just going to choke in the playoffs.
I am so tired of hearing how the Marlins have to move. The attendance of the team has absolutely no impact on the profit of a team. Profit is dictated by TV contracts. And for the most part owners don’t want just anybody to go to the games anymore. That’s why they overprice the tickets to the point that blue collar working class people could only go to games at most a couple of times a year. Owners want fans that go to the game not so much for the outcome win or lose but for the status of attending an event.
Think about it for a minute blue collar fans whose entertainment is sports follow their teams regardless. They live and die with their teams season to season. They are not going anywhere. Owners would rather those fans at home watching the game on tv. The more ppl watching on tv results in higher ratings which in turn allows them to get bigger tv contracts.
The problem with baseball is the inequality of the profits of margins each team has. Bigger market teams make more money plain and simple.
These small market teams want the public to believe they are broke. Nonsense they are just not making as much as big market owners that is the difference.
If I were the owners of big market teams I would fight to have not a salary cap but a salary floor for these small market clubs. They can keep the profit sharing set up they got going on but the big market clubs should know the money is going where it’s suppose to go.
If they really want to make it fair every team throws all their local tv deals into a big pot and they all get evenly distributed to all the teams. This would put the onus on attendance again because that would be the true indicator of making money. Everything else would be equal across the board for owners. MLB should put some of that money to the side to help finance stadiums that these owners want the taxpayers to pay for.
WOW! That is too good to be true, that is too stable, too good, too egalitarian. Everything in this world, at this era in time, is vehemently opposed to what you proposed. I would love to see something like this, if it were to occur, it would mean other very vital issues that need the same approach, are probably moving in that direction as well.
Now on to my question would taking Prado’s contract back help facilitate a Realmuto trade. I think Prado could bring value to the Braves backing up Camargo & giving Freddie a day off now and again. Also his leadership to the young foreign players. He is not an everyday player at this point in his career but he could definitely bring value to this ball club.
Gohara, Wentz, Contreras, & Ruiz for Realmuto & Prado ????
That won’t be enough to get realmuto. And I doubt the fish are going to package Prada with realmuto, because he just hinders the package Miami would receive. He’s a liability for a rebuilding club, and I’m sure Atlanta doesn’t want that contract unless it means giving up less prospects
That seems like a pretty fair deal to me. Even though I’d be hesitant on giving up his future replacement. I’d probably replace Contreras with an Allard (who I’m not impressed with) or Muller and let them keep Prado. He’s a great player and definitely deserves great talent in return, but acting like Realmuto deserves a Chris Sale type return is laughable, and quite frankly, it’s starting to get rather annoying. I don’t and shouldn’t think it would require a franchise changing trade to get him, as some posters on here would have you believe.
If it didn’t require a boatload of good prospects, he would have been traded by now. Allard has tanked his value, and he wouldn’t be a Frontline piece in a Realmuto deal.
Which is why I think the Marlins need to come down on their absurd asking price. Either they will and he will be traded, or he will be held onto and extended or be traded at the 2020 deadline for a middling return.
1. they do not need to lower their asking price to pry JT away.
2. What are the Powerball winning numbers since you know when Jt will be traded.
1. Enlighten me then einstein, Which players do you think it would take to get a deal done between the Braves and Marlins? I want names.
2.. I never said WHEN he would be traded. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that those are the 3 practical outcomes for him. If some team drastically overpays you can catch me on that thread admitting my faults. But I seriously doubt it. As far as the powerball numbers go, 12-34-57-67-07
1. You will get NO names!
2. Did not win the power all. You’re no clairevoyent.
I agree, the fish have no reason to attach Prado to any deal. Their payroll is already low enough and they need an infusion of young, controllable, talent. But I think we’re getting carried away with Realmuto’s value, he’s not Pudge Rodriguez. Prior to this year, he’d never hit 20 homeruns. His D is good but it’s not Yadi or Posey level. He’s basically Brian McCann in his prime which would/should fetch a very good package but not some of the crazy stuff proposed here. Only two years of control left that won’t be super cheap. Why would the Braves give up 4 top 100 prospects for 2 years of Realmuto when it would probably take 1 top 100 prospect for Cervelli who will likely give you a year of similar production?
McCann in his prime is a good comparison although Realmuto has by far the superior arm. But 33 year old Cervelli is not going to provide a year of similar production as Realmuto.
Steelerbravenation, I’m generally don’t think your trade are close to reality, but I have to admit that deal would probably not be tweaked too much. I don’t think it is overly likely however that Prado would be included in a deal simply because it would drive down the return. Prado would however be a positive influence on all the young infielders and also could possibly still show some defensive flexibility in a pinch.
O’Brien for real did get rave reviews – I’m really happy for him.
Even the defense too!
I believe Dodgers will aggressively pursue a trade for Realmuto. It will be expensive in terms of talent, likely top prospects Ruiz (C) and Verdugo (OF) plus pitchers Santana and Alvarez and another prospect like 1b/3b Rios or Beaty.
Does Jeter actually make trade decisions? And isn’t their TV contract lame? I would welcome any updates please.
Current TV deal is mega lame. One of the worst in Baseball. But to enhance and make it more profitable for the Marlins has been mentioned by Jeter as being a top, if not the biggest, priority for long term success.
Regarding Jeter making actual trade decisions, i’m sure he’s counselled but I don’t believe he meddles quite like Loria used to. He leaves that to Hill, whom I don’t have much confidence in.
Never forget, Loria himself negotiated the Heath Bell contract.
I wasn’t very happy when the Cardinals traded Magness Sierra. He has speed out of this world which benefits him well on defense!!! Also, his first 8 games in the majors with the Cardinals were historic.
You couldn’t have been too unhappy, given you can’t spell his first name.
While he has great speed, he’s really similar to Billy Hamilton as far as offense goes, minus the elite base stealing skill. his “historic” 8 games with the Cards, in the majors, which were really 22 games, garnered 19 hits. Of which, none were doubles, triples or homers. He fared even worse in ’18 with the Fish.
Sierra is over hyped by a small percentage of Cards fans. You seem to be a member.
He sucks. He swings at garbage. He doesn’t make consistent contact. No plate discipline.
Thanks for the article.
The Marlins are one of the 2 teams I’m following doing a long-term rebuild (the Royals being the other). The criticisms of both front offices are ridiculous. There is an overall business plan, with hopes the teams start winning in 2020, and become serious contenders starting in 2021. What matters is not trades or glossy free agent signings, but rather quality draft choices and a solid minor league instruction system developing those players. That takes time.
Realmuto is the major question. Quality teams are built from the catcher out. Primarily because they handle the pitchers. If they hit, it’s a bonus. Right now, Yadi and Salvy are the 2 best, having already led their teams to playoff appearances, the WS, and championships. Posey did that as well, but he’s playing a lot of 1B as the strain of catching causes him physical problems. Next comes JT.
The man is 27 years-old and has already caught 5 years in the majors. Can he stay healthy for another 2-3 as he helps develop pitchers while the team prepares to contend? It’s his call. Period. If he wants to stay he’ll be given an generous long-term contract. If he wants to play for a contender in 2019, then the FO will shop him and bring back as much young, cheap, controllable talent as they can.
The marlins aren’t going to start winning in 2020. And seriously contending in 21. That’s a pipe dream. Even if they hit home runs on all these prospects they have that team isn’t going to be contending for anything that fast. They have a rotation full of back end pitchers, a dismantled bullpen and no elite prospects in the upper minors. Not happening.
Factless opinion. Thank you
More payroll cutting is needed by the fish!
Major? Please let me know how they are going to move Chen and Prado without gutting the farm again? The only payroll moves might be DD, Straily and Castro.
Straily should be non-tendered. $4.8 million? what a joke
This is a Marlins team that just recently had Stanton, Yelich, Realmuto, and Ozuna all in the lineup. If they didn’t rebuild they’d have a heck of an offense…
I wouldn’t mind Cevelli actually would prefer him but what would it take ? Is he even available ? With the Bucs dealing for Archer isn’t that saying they are trying to make a run next year. Do they have a replacement for him ?
The Marlins should just acquire wonderkid Rob Refsnyder from the Rays and play him at every position at once. Then they can just sit back and enjoy the ride to 100 plus wins.
If Atlanta tries to acquire Realmuto go ahead a dream big and go after Anderson too. The braves could send Cristian Pache, Austin Riley, Ian Anderson, Kolby Allard, Izzy Wilson, Richard Sanchez and Alex Jackson for Realmuto, Brian Anderson, and Derek Dietrich.
Yes, that would be a MASSIVE trade (7 for 3) but Atlanta would get 2 years of Realmuto, 1 year of Dietrich and a new young rightfielder in Brian Anderson who wouldn’t be a free agent until 2024.
Yes I would never expect it to happen, but then again I did say dream right.
I don’t think that would be anywhere close to land all 3.
Marlins won’t trade Brian Anderson.
And if we’re throwing out outlandish trade ideas…JT and Dietrich for Wright, Anderson, Waters and Bryse Wilson should do it.
Miami is not trading Brian Anderson. He was one of the few bright spots and still many years of team control.
i live in Matanzas, cuba, i follow the Mesa brothers for the time they play for our team, 6 years. the older has no power and struggled big time the first 5 years, and then couldnt stay healthy. the younger one is less talented but with a more explosive character and way to pley ball.
Realmuto to LA for K Ruiz, Dustin May and Gavin Lux (or maybe sub Edwin Rios in place of Lux. LA could use an elite catcher to get them over the top). Starlin Castro back to NYY for Thairo Estrada and maybe another bottom of the barrel prospect (since they need an infielder to cover for Gregorious, in the event they don’t get Machado. Trade Dietrich for a lower ended prospect, non tender Rojas and trade Straily to someone needing a 5th starter. Sign one veteran SP and one veteran bullpen arm looking to bounce back and cash them in for more prospects at the deadline, if they pan out. That’s what I would do if I was Jeter.
The only way the Marlins are gonna get anything in return for Chen or Prado is paying 90% of the cheese owed to them. As players, neither offer very much. Chen is always hurt and Prado is past his prime and been a victim of the injury bug too.
Every time I see Yelich on TV I wince. You don’t trade a guy like that, you build around him.
tottally agree with u, but i think in his case he wanted out badly, Realmuto is as good as he is, maybe he is a better soldier