San Francisco took game seven and won the World Series on Wednesday night, meaning Major League Baseball's offseason started this morning. Miami lost four players on the roster, with Rafael Furcal, Brad Penny, Reed Johnson, and Kevin Gregg all electing free agency, according to MLB.com.
#Marlins 40-man roster at 37. Jose Fernandez reinst from 60-day DL. Reed Johnson, Kevin Gregg, Brad Penny, Rafael Furcal elect free agency— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) October 30, 2014
Johnson was signed to serve as a veteran presence in the clubhouse before last season, and could be the only one of the four to receive a qualifying offer from the Marlins. He was solid as a pinch hitter in 2014, and was productive in spot starts.
He posted a .235/.266/.348 batting line to complement two home runs and 25 RBIs. Johnson appeared in 115 games, and saw time in left and center field when Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna needed a day off. The Marlins, as was the case with Greg Dobbs in the past, were reportedly high on Johnson. And while his offensive production wasn't notable, most of the playing time he received came late in games.
Miami surprisingly didn't try and resign Johnson, but could try to do so moving forward or will begin looking for a replacement.
Miami signed Furcal last offseason, taking a chance on the veteran who was returning to the league after having Tommy John surgery. In just nine games, Furcal posted a .171/.216/.229 batting line and drove in two runs.
Yelich was productive in the leadoff spot for the Marlins, making Furcal's absence less significant. However, the Marlins likely would have benefited from Furcal's speed and production at the top of the lineup.
Since he struggled to stay healthy, it is unlikely the Marlins will even consider resigning Furcal.
Miami signed the former closer to provide additional depth in the bullpen after Bryan Morris was acquired from Pittsburgh, however Gregg had trouble finding the strike zone in only nine innings.
In twelve games, Gregg posted a 10.00 ERA and 6.35 FIP. As was the case in his previous Marlins tenure, Gregg's inability to throw strikes consistently led to him creating big innings for opposing offenses.
Gregg ended the year on the disabled list, and isn't likely to return in 2015.
The Marlins signed Penny in June, hoping he would prove to be a valuable arm as the Marlins made a run at the playoffs. Miami's playoff hopes seemingly never truly ended until they were eliminated, but Penny made several starts as the summer came to an end.
In 26 innings, some of which came out of the bullpen, Penny posted a 6.58 ERA and 5.25 FIP. Miami was looking for consistency at the back end of the rotation, and Penny found himself competing with Brad Hand for starting time.
Miami will likely be content with what it received from Penny, but should be happy to move on, as it has a significant amount starting pitching depth.
With the offseason underway, stay tuned to Fish Stripes for the latest!