Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill appeared on the Marlins Hot Stove radio show Tuesday night from the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, California to talk all things off-season for the team.
The interview lasted roughly 19 minutes, with Hill on starting around 2:30 in. Host Kyle Sielaff led off by asking the difference between the GM and Winter meetings. Hill responded that the GM meetings are the kickoff of the off-season, where the team’s plan for the winter is set while getting a sense of other teams’ needs.
The Hot Stove show is back and we're kicking things off straight from the GM meetings!— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) November 6, 2018
Tune in at 7PM as @Kyle_Sielaff chats with Marlins' President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill and @JoeFrisaro: https://t.co/ZKRxiDCikg pic.twitter.com/W5a3RtzqLO
The winter plan
Questioned as to what he was most encouraged by in 2018, Hill cited the development of young players, such as Brian Anderson, and the emergence of young starting pitchers, such as Pablo López and Sandy Alcántara. Hill came short of using the phrase “trust the process” but nevertheless stressed the need to be patient and build the right way.
While he mentioned the team is “exploring every way possible to add more offense” when asked about the team’s biggest priority this winter, perhaps the most interesting information to come out of the interview were his thoughts on the 2019 rotation. Hill stated that the front office is comfortable with its starting pitching thanks to the emergence of Jose Ureña, Alcántara, and López, combined with experienced veterans in Dan Straily and Wei-Yin Chen. Hill then went on to say the Marlins want to add depth to the bullpen beyond Adam Conley and Drew Steckenrider.
Hill was very enthusiastic about the starting pitching depth. Highlights Pablo López multiple times as somebody who exceeded all their expectations to crack the MLB rotation in 2018. pic.twitter.com/YXqSC3Kiwv— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) November 7, 2018
“It’s up to him”
The real source of heat for the Marlins’ hot stove this winter is of course J.T. Realmuto. Hill said it was up to the player to accept an extension, but “he’s under control for two more years, and we’re extremely happy to have him a part of what we’re building.”
As the interview drew to a close, Hill returned to the topic of the rotation, calling Ureña a great development story and detailing how excited the team is about its trio of young hurlers, including Alcántara and López. Hill affirmed López is healthy now and preparing for a full season next year. He also said the team is fortunate to have Trevor Richards in the mix and Caleb Smith as well. Before signing off, Hill touched on the Marlins prospects in the Arizona Fall League, especially the successes of Monte Harrison and Jordan Yamamoto.
While Hill gave the company line (and therefore nothing new) regarding J.T. Realmuto, those of you trying to put together the 2019 rotation (as we have been) just got a big clue regarding how Hill sees it stacking up. It sounds like it will be Ureña, Alcántara, López, Straily, and Chen with Richards and Smith filling in. Whether Realmuto gets traded at these meetings, which conclude on Thursday, is one of MLB.com’s five things to watch this week.
The full interview can be found here.