The Miami Marlins made their first big move of the offseason with the signing of free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia to be their catcher. The signing results in a huge upgrade to the team’s catcher position which amassed an embarrassing .192/.249/.280 slash line in 2013. Marlins catchers were not only last in baseball in slugging (.280), but also in wOBA (.235), wRC+ (42) and ISO (.088). By comparison, the switch hitting Salty’s 2013 numbers were a .273/.338/.466 slash with a .349 wOBA and 117 RC+.
With Saltalamaccchia signed, the question becomes, what’s next for the Marlins? Do they look to keep Logan Morrison on the trade block and see what they can get for him? Or do they hold onto him, as they don’t have an immediate replacement for him on their roster or in the minors?
For the Marlins, Hill said not tendering contracts to either Coghlan or reliever Ryan Webb boiled down to a financial decision. According to projections by mlbtraderumors.com, Webb stood to earn $1.5 million through salary arbitration while Coghlan’s figure was pegged at $800,000
The Marlins did tender contracts to their five other arbitration-eligible players -- Giancarlo Stanton, Steve Cishek, Logan Morrison, Justin Ruggiano and Mike Dunn, all of whom are eligible for the first time. Tendering means that the players are guaranteed a contract for 2014, but their salary will be determined either through negotiations or in an arbitration hearing. In addition, they still could be subjected to trades.
It will take a special offer for the Marlins to part with some of their surplus pitching. Even though Miami is in need of more offensive firepower, the club is treading carefully if it means dealing away some, if any, of its young pitching. From the Minors on up to the big leagues, the Marlins have a nice stable of talented arms. If possible, they'd like to keep it that way. With the Winter Meetings set for next week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill says the team plans on keeping its pitching strong. "We don't want to take a strength and make it a weakness," Hill said. "Like I've said, we're definitely mindful that pitching is what drives this game.'
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Barring an unforeseen development, the addition of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Miami Marlins will likely relegate Rob Brantly or Jacob Realmuto to a backup catcher role.
The Miami Marlins surprisingly did not tender former Rookie of the Year and organizational darling Chris Coghlan a contract, but it sounds as though Miami would like to have him back next season.
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