Marlins Buy-out Castro
In a completely unsurprising move, the Marlins opted to decline Starlin Castro’s $16 million option for 2020 yesterday, instead exercising a $1 million buyout clause. The 29-year-old Cuban had an up-and-down 2019, batting .245 over 88 games before the All-Star Break and then .302 in 74 games after it. While he hit a team and career-high 22 home runs in a lineup that struggled for offense, Castro does not figure into the organization’s future plans now that prospect Isan Díaz has made it to the majors. If the second half of the season was anything to go by, it appears that Starlin still has some gas left in the tank, and it will be interesting to see who picks him up.
So Many Questions
Any team that posts the second-worst record in franchise history is going to be subject to rising concerns and more than a few questions from fans and the media alike regarding how they are going to improve moving forward. For the Marlins heading into 2020, achieving success will be straightforward—score more runs, limit opponents to scoring fewer runs (looking at you, bullpen), find the ideal positions to play some of their best players, and determine true building blocks for the future.
I said straightforward, not easy.
The Legend of Choi
For a few short weeks to start the 2004 season, Marlins fans were able to forget that the team had traded Derek Lee, a future All-Star and a vital cog in the World Series machine from the year before in a salary-dump move. That was because Hee-Seop Choi, the man who replaced him at first base, became an overnight sensation in South Florida. Belting three homers in the first five games of the season will do that, but the Korean burned the opposition all month long, slashing .295/.419/.738. The hot streak came to an end, however, and then the Marlins traded him to the Dodgers as part of the deal for Paul Lo Duca at the trade deadline. Nevertheless, Choi is one of the franchise’s all-time cult heroes.
Miami has done a stellar job thus far of re-stocking their minor league pipeline with dynamic and exciting prospects since the new owners took over in 2017. With a few of them—namely Monte Harrison, Sixto Sánchez, and Nick Neidert—on the cusp of making their major league debuts, is it possible that any of them make the Opening Day roster? Joe Frisaro answers this question and more in his latest fan inbox.
Fish Bites Podcast
The latest installment discusses the epic World Series and key players with a Marlins connection who led the Nats to victory. Then, Fox Sports Florida's Kelly Saco joins the show to talk about her background and career so far. Don’t forget that new Fish Bites episodes are also airing on SLAM Radio (SiriusXM channel 145) every Monday at 5 p.m. ET.
Enjoy episode 45 right here!