No matter what you think about Jeffrey Loria, he is starting to crack open his wallet. My current payroll projection for the Marlins sits at $102.99 million; which would make it the second time in franchise history that the opening day payroll exceeded the century mark. The other season? Let's not go back down that road.
The Marlins are due to pay their 2017 free agent crop more this season than the Yankees signees of the last two offseasons COMBINED!
The biggest contract handed out by the Marlins was to right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez. He received a two-year, $22 million deal; $9 million due in 2017. Volquez is one year removed from compiling a 3.55 ERA over 200.1 innings. Although his K/9 has not topped 8.00 since 2012, he still induces groundballs at around a 50% clip.
The Marlins also looked to bolster their bullpen by throwing some money at it. They brought on board both Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa. Ziegler, a side winding 37-year-old, was given a two-year, $16 million contract for his consistent production since his 2008 major league debut. Over his nine year career, his lowest innings output is 58.1 and highest ERA is 3.49. He will make $7 million in 2017. Tazawa was signed to a two-year, $12 million deal, after two straight seasons pitching to an ERA north of 4.00. The Japanese right-handed pitcher still strikes plenty of batters out, having a K/9 of 9.00 four of the last five seasons. Tazawa will bring in $5 million this year.
Other free agent signings include Jeff Locke (1 year, $3.03 million), A.J. Ellis (1 year, $2.5 million), and Dustin McGowan (1 Year, $1.75 million).
The Marlins also saw a few players earn raises via arbitration. Closer A.J. Ramos will make $3.15 million more in 2017 than he did in 2016, Tom Koehler will bring home an additional $2.25 million, and Adeiny Hechavarria got a raise of $1.72 million. It looks as though David Phelps will head to an arbitration hearing to determine if he will get a raise of $2.1 million or $1.83 million. The Marlins also had two players in their first year of arbitration, Marcel Ozuna ($3.5 million) and Derek Dietrich ($1.7 million).
Players on a long-term contract also saw a slight bump in salary from 2016 to 2017. Giancarlo Stanton will make $5.5 million more this season, Dee Gordon will make an additional $4.5 million, Wei-Yin Chen will see a bump of $3 million, and Christian Yelich makes an additional $2.5 million.
To the naked eye these individual year to year salary increases may not seem like much, but put them together and they really add up.
We can sit around and argue about who the money is spent on, but the fact of the matter is the Marlins are trying. Considering what has happened in the past? This is a big deal.