The Miami Marlins are excited to be a big part of the post-2014 offseason, and they were the main story with their deal to sign Giancarlo Stanton to a monster 13-year, $325 million contract. But since the signing, there has been a lot of talk of Miami pursuing larger names, but without much in terms of actual movement. Miami did offer a contract to Adam LaRoche, who would have filled one of the team's primary needs at first base. However, LaRoche then signed for two years and $25 million with the Chicago White Sox. He might not have been the right player for Miami to pursue, but he was also the team's only supposed offer on the market.
Miami has been talking big about James Shields throughout, and just recently there was a rumor regarding the team's interest in a trade for either David Price or Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers. But if these offers seem far-fetched to you, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com points out that they may be because of the team's still-present payroll restrictions.
Stanton's sizable deal does give Miami payroll flexibility because he will make $6.5 million next year. Entering the offseason, the payroll was expected to be around $60 million. The revised figure is going up, but not drastically. The new projection is $65 million, which means the club has to be cautious on the free-agent market. It is appearing less likely that the team will go after big-ticket players. Certainly, the Marlins are not in on the bidding for Max Scherzer andJon Lester. They have interest in James Shields, but his asking price may also be out of their range.
This runs counter to our constant rumors about big names, but the figure does make some sense. Even with rumors regarding guys like James Shields, the Marlins may be able to add one of the lesser big names to a deal without breaking the bank or significantly increasing the projected payroll. Consider the case of Shields, for example. MLB Trade Rumors projected a five-year, $95 million contract, or about $19 million per season for Shields's services. This would be in an appropriately lower tier compared to guys like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer, who are both younger and better.
Now consider Miami's new payroll situation thanks to Stanton's contract. The Fish have about $51 million committed to players when you include pre-arbitration and arbitration salary estimates. If the payroll was at $65 million, Miami would have about $14 million available to them to use for an addition. If they fudge the numbers a bit and bump to $70 million total, you are looking at exactly $19 million in available salary space, which fits perfectly with the thought of adding Shields.
That figure also fits nicely in any attempted trade for David Price as well, as Price is slated to earn just shy of $19 million in his final arbitration season. That figure of just under $20 million may just be the team's current money to play with, even despite the calls that the franchise will not spend a whole lot more.