Preparing the Floodgates
Prior to the deadline for protecting eligible prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Marlins added six highly-touted minor leaguers to their 40-man roster, including right-handers Sixto Sánchez, Edward Cabrera, and Nick Neidert. While they are all projected to start the season at Triple-A Wichita, they are now effectively one step away from making their debuts in Miami. Add into the mix outfielders Monte Harrison and Jesús Sánchez, and Marlins fans are set to meet a lot of new and exciting faces in 2020 if all goes to plan.
Rule 5 Draft Targets
One notable name that the Marlins chose not to protect from the draft was left-handed starter Will Stewart, who struggled to a 5.43 ERA at High-A Jupiter after being acquired before the season in the J.T. Realmuto trade. While Stewart could be lost to another team that sees potential in him, there are plenty of intriguing players that the Marlins could pick up at the same time. Two names to watch are first baseman Roberto Ramos of the Rockies and right-hander Zack Brown of the Brewers. Ramos hit .309 with 30 homers at Triple-A this past season, and while Brown looked overwhelmed at Triple-A in 2019, he was voted the Double-A Southern League’s best pitcher last season.
Baseball America’s Rule 5 preview (subscription required) does not feature any unprotected Marlins players for their potential 2020 major league impact or intriguing upside worth stashing. Perhaps the team will luck out and be able to retain Stewart and others within the organization.
Improving the team's offense has been stated as a top priority by General Manager Michael Hill numerous times already this off-season, telling reporters a few weeks ago that every option was in play to achieve that goal. However, it looks like that may not be the case. It has now come to light that the Marlins are not willing to part with draft picks to sign free agents who received qualifying offers—i.e. Marcell Ozuna—or hand out large, multi-year contracts at this point in time, possibly ruling out a deal with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, too. Both of these philosophies are good for the long-term rebuild, but bad for vastly improving Miami's 2020 outlook. Some impact bats, such as the aforementioned Monte Harrison and Jesus Sánchez, are on the way, but whether or not they can translate their minor league success to Miami remains to be seen.
Lending a Helping Hand
Earlier this week, some of Miami's top prospects got together to help pack Thanksgiving meals for those in need in the South Florida area. Those on hand at the event included catcher Will Banfield, shortstop José Devers, and outfielder Kameron Misner, as the Marlins Foundation received $25,000 from AT&T to support their continuing efforts in the community. Banfield spoke to the media and gave a little insight on what it has been like to work with catching legend Jorge Posada as he continues his development.
Miguel Rojas and Isan Díaz will join CEO Derek Jeter and others on Monday for another meal distribution event at Marlins Park.
Why Chen was DFA’d
To make room for all of those prospects on the 40-man roster, someone already taking up a spot had to go. That odd man out was veteran pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday. The Vietnamese lefty was simply awful after being relegated to the bullpen for 2019, and while the Marlins were on the hook for his $22 million salary next season regardless, they decided that it would be best for the team's future to move on. This is the type of move that the prior ownership group likely would not have made, again demonstrating the new commitment to long-term success.