The Marlins slashed payroll more than any other team in baseball this past year, save for three other clubs. The Fish dropped from roughly $155 million in 2017 to $108 million in 2018, per Forbes. The $47 million cut placed behind only the Tigers ($71 million), Dodgers ($58 million), and Royals ($53 million). The Yankees and Orioles each saved approximately $31 million, rounding out the number of teams cutting more than $20 million from their budgets at six. These franchises were not alone, as 2018 marked the first time since 2010 that salaries across baseball fell, and a total of 18 teams slashed their payouts.
As fans will recall, the primary motivation behind the cuts in Miami was a desire for a fresh start by the new ownership group, led by Derek Jeter. As the group moved to erase all memories of the Jeffrey Loria era, that meant rebuilding and getting out from under cumbersome contracts such as those of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich via offseason trades. Those players were all set for significant jumps in salary from 2017 and made a combined made $51.8 million last season, according to Spotrac.com.
The team’s frugal ways won’t end there either, as their 2019 payroll is currently projected to be under $80 million by Roster Resource. However, as I predicted in October, I believe the $10.9 million due J.T. Realmuto and Dan Straily will be off the books before Opening Day, leaving the team with a final number closer to $69 million. That number would have rivaled the Rays for the lowest total in baseball last season.
The Fish were bottom-three in spending from 2013-2016 as well, so it seems they won’t quite be shaking the ghosts of Lorias past just yet.