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Marlins tender 2019 contracts to J.T. Realmuto, all arbitration-eligible players

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Meanwhile, other MLB teams decided to cut interesting players prior to Friday’s non-tender deadline, creating new free-agent targets for the Fish.

J.T. Realmuto and Adam Conley are among the five Marlins expected to get a nice raise next season
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We don’t know for sure that Adam Conley, J.T. Realmuto, Miguel Rojas, Dan Straily and José Ureña will be Miami Marlins next season, but the club is prepared to pay them. All five arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts ahead of Friday’s 8 p.m. ET deadline (first reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand).

MLB Trade Rumors has the following 2019 salary projections for them:

  • J.T. Realmuto—$6.1M
  • Dan Straily—$4.8M
  • José Ureña—$3.6M
  • Miguel Rojas—$2.6M
  • Adam Conley—$1.3M

Realmuto emerged as The Best Catcher In Baseball last year, slashing .277/.340/.484 in 531 plate appearances. He earned $2.9 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The All-Star has drawn recent trade interest from the Astros, Dodgers, Yankees and Cubs (among others). You can bet his status will dominate our Fish Stripes coverage for the foreseeable future.

Straily posted a 4.12 ERA and 5.11 FIP over 122.1 IP with his share of highlights along the way. He’s seeking a slight raise on his previous $3.375 million salary.

Rojas played more often than ever for a rebuilding team, finishing at .252/.297/.346 with a career-high 11 home runs in 528 plate appearances. With a skill set that traditionally doesn’t earn much compensation during arb years, the workload should still reward him with more than the $1.18 million he negotiated in 2018.

Ureña and Conley are each arbitration eligible for the first time.

Originally, Derek Dietrich and Bryan Holaday were slated to be included in this arbitration class. Dietz was designated for assignment earlier in the month, then elected free agency on Monday after passing through waivers. Conveniently, Holaday just finalized a minor league deal to remain with the organization, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

So we turn our attention elsewhere to players who were non-tendered and newly placed on the free-agent market. Notables include outfielder Billy Hamilton (Reds), infielder Wilmer Flores (Mets), right-handers Blake Parker and Matt Shoemaker (Angels), catcher James McCann (Tigers), outfielder Robbie Grossman (Twins), right-hander Shelby Miller (Diamondbacks), infielder Jonathan Schoop and left-hander/old friend Dan Jennings (Brewers), the lovable Justin Bour (Phillies), first baseman Matt Davidson and outfielder Avisaíl García (White Sox).

Hamilton is intriguing on a number of levels. The six-year MLB vet individually racked up nearly as many stolen bases (34) as the entire Marlins roster last season (45). His increased strikeout rate—23.7 K%, slightly worse than league average—is a concern for somebody whose success leans heavily on balls in play. However, the Marlins should be serious about acquiring a stopgap outfielder so that they feel less pressured to rush their top prospects to the big leagues.

Flores, who loves playing in Miami, was diagnosed with early-onset arthritis in both knees last summer. He offers infield versatility, but not much proficiency at any particular position. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro suggested it as a potential fit; I don’t see that happening at all. Schoop offers considerably more upside if the Marlins were serious about that sort of right-handed bat.

St Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Trading Bour to Philadelphia in August sent a clear message that the Fish want to get more athletic. J.B. performed poorly after the move—.224/.296/.347 in 54 PA—and might have to settle for an incentive-laden minor league deal. (No, a reunion here isn’t reasonable for either side.)

Anybody who you want to pursue from this group?