While the Marlins have made it clear that upgrading the offense is a priority this winter, the team would prefer to stay away from long-term contracts so as not to block its younger position players, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Any number of veterans could fit as short-term adds for 2020, though it does mean the Marlins likely won’t be signing Marcell Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos, two free agents Miami was rumored to have interest in signing. Jackson notes that the Fish aren’t keen to give up the draft pick necessary to sign Ozuna (who rejected a Cardinals’ qualifying offer), while Castellanos is probably also unlikely, though the Marlins “could enter the bidding if he’s still available in a few weeks and willing to accept a shorter deal.” One would imagine that if Castellanos was open to a short-term deal, however, he might prefer to take such a contract with a contending team rather than the rebuilding Marlins.
Some more from South Beach…
- Also from Jackson’s piece, “the Marlins are leaning toward tendering” a contract to Jose Urena, who is projected for a $4MM salary in arbitration this offseason. After solid results in 2017-18, Urena struggled to a 5.21 ERA over 84 2/3 innings in a season hampered by injury, and it’s possible Miami could now opt to use him as a reliever rather than the rotation. Even for a low-payroll team like the Marlins, $4MM doesn’t seem like too expensive a sum for a pitcher with Urena’s resume, though Jackson notes that Miami could tender Urena a contract now and then release him before Opening Day (thus paying only a fraction of his agreed-upon salary) if they don’t like what they see in Spring Training.
- After a busy day of roster additions and subtractions on Wednesday, president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed the team’s moves with reporters (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun Sentinel). The most notable transactions was Wei-Yin Chen being designated for assignment, which all but officially ended the southpaw’s disappointing tenure in Miami after signing a five-year, $80MM deal in the 2015-16 offseason. Chen still has one year and $22MM remaining on that contract, though the DFA “was not about money. It was about building the best and deepest 40-man roster to allow us to compete in 2020 and beyond,” Hill said. Since Chen wasn’t expected to be a big contributor next season and his trade value was virtually non-existent, it isn’t a shock that the Marlins felt that Chen’s roster spot was better used to protect a young player from the Rule 5 Draft.
- All in all, six players were added to the 40-man in advance of the Rule 5 deadline — shortstop Jazz Chisholm, first baseman Lewin Diaz, and right-handers Sixto Sanchez, Nick Neidert, Humberto Mejia and Edward Cabrera. It seems like Mejia was the only member of the group who wasn’t a no-brainer, as his inclusion on the 40-man “took a lot of discussion among our group,” Hill said. “He battled injuries in his history, but you’re talking about a very physical right-handed pitcher with three pitches and he’s an extreme strike-thrower. We feel he’s a future major league starter and we didn’t think we should leave that profile exposed.” As Hill noted, Mejia “pitched his way onto the roster” following a strong 2019 season that saw the righty post a 2.09 ERA over 90 1/3 innings at the A-ball and high-A ball levels.