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Updating the Marlins' payroll situation

The Miami Marlins had a target payroll budget, but they have seemingly gone way past it. Or have they? Let's delve into their books again.

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The Miami Marlins started off this offseason with a target budget after the signing of Giancarlo Stanton. Supposedly, the budget was set at somewhere around $65 million. But since then, the Fish have added Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Martin Prado, and Mat Latos to the squad, meaning that the Marlins have put on a significant amount of salary commitments. They should have blown well past the $65 million mark, right?

Well, not exactly. The Fish were paid for a large number of those moves for the 2015 season, and they were also able to shed some salary from trading some of their own players. The budget may appear to be swelling, but it is unlikely to break the Marlins' bank. More importantly, do the Fish have room for any more moves after all of this maneuvering? Let's revisit their budget once more.

Guaranteed Salaries

The Marlins do have some guaranteed salaries remaining on their team. They only traded one player with a guaranteed slot in Garrett Jones, thus shedding the $5 million he was owed this season. Here is the new list of guaranteed money, including Haren's fully-paid sum.

Player Salary ($Mil) Years Left
Martin Prado 8* 2
Michael Morse 8 2
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 7 2
Giancarlo Stanton 6.5 12
Jeff Baker 2.1 1
Jeff Mathis 1.5 1
Dan Haren 0** 1
Total 33.1 ---

*Salary paid for partially by the Yankees
**Salary paid for by the Dodgers

The Fish now owe a guaranteed $25 million in salary, but primarily owed to Prado, Morse, Saltalamacchia, and Stanton. Stanton's deal will repay his 2014 salary to him again, gaining the Marlins major payroll room, and part of that room was used to guarantee Morse. Prado's salary is only partially paid by the Yankees, leaving the Fish with only $8 million per year of his $11 million per season deal. This total is up from the initial guaranteed amount from the start of the offseason, but includes more players and includes a fully-paid Haren.


The arbitration salaries are now different as well. The Marlins added four players up for arbitration this season since the initial tally, as Latos, Gordon, David Phelps, and Aaron Crow all figure to make a small sum in the process. They also shed three guys, as Stanton's contract is now guaranteed (and worth less than he would have made in arbitration) and Nathan Eovaldi and Casey McGehee are no longer with the club. How does that pan out?

Player Salary ($Mil) Arb Year
Mat Latos 8.4 3
Steve Cishek 6.9 2*
Henderson Alvarez 4.5 1
Mike Dunn 2.3 2
Aaron Crow 2.0 2
David Phelps 1.3 1
Dee Gordon 0** 1
Total 25.4

*Denotes Super Two status
**Paid for by the Dodgers

The Marlins owe an additional $25.4 million in arbitration, which once again decreases their budget for this season compared to the $33.3 million they were expected to pay before the offseason began. Miami shed $6.5 million in salary by avoiding Stanton's arbitration raise, which made almost enough to cover the addition of Mat Latos. The club's total add-ons, including Latos, were at $11.3 million, while the team slashed $13.1 million total by re-signing Stanton to a smaller deal and trading Eovaldi and McGehee away.

At this point, the Fish have 14 roster spots filled at a total of $58.5 million, if you include Haren on the roster.


The pre-arbitration players would total only nine guys at this point. Adeiny Hechavarria is slated to make $1.8 million thanks to his previous Major League contract, while Christian Yelich may get a slight raise for being a Gold Glove winner this year. The other seven players would earn $0.5 million each. In total, those nine guys would make a whopping $5.9 million in added salary.

This puts the Marlins at $64.4 million in salary. They almost exactly matched their target payroll for 2015. If Haren retires, the Fish could expand a bit, get creative with a contract for a guy like Shields, and use his money to mostly match that payroll for 2015 as well. But for the most part, if everyone sticks as expected, the Marlins are going to be pretty much set roster-wise. The team is expected to pay out exactly as much as they wanted to this year, and if there is anything we know about owner Jeffrey Loria, it's that he would not want to throw a penny more than expected.