Exploring Every Option
Heading into the General Managers Meetings on Monday, a de facto Winter Meetings pre-event, the Marlins are preparing to leave no stone unturned when it comes to improving the major league roster for 2020. That includes exploring signing free agents who have received a qualifying offer and would cost the team a compensatory draft pick, such as Marcell Ozuna or José Abreu. Actually following through on that would be a stunning shift from long-term to short-term priorities, but the depth and upside of the Miami farm system allows them to approach the offseason unconventionally.
Despite this potential revelation Ozuna and Abreu are still long-shots to sign with Miami due to the salaries that they will demand, with gate revenues too low to allow big free agent spending without a new TV deal or stadium naming rights partner in place. The Marlins do need veteran bats to complement their young and inexperienced core of position players, but they will more realistically come in the form of a Yasiel Puig, Nicholas Castellanos, or Avisaíl García. Signing any of those three players would be a big step in the right direction for next season.
Helping the Minnesota Twins set the major league home run record with 307 bombs this past season has clearly put a chip on new Marlins bench coach James Rowson's shoulder. When referring to the young players that he will now be working with — who struggled as a group to produce much offense in 2019 — Rowson expressed his belief that "the dial can turn really quick”. Let's hope that his confidence and expertise equates to immediate results, as another season of finishing 25th or lower in batting (.241), runs scored (615), and slugging percentage (.375) will not cut it in the eyes of fans.
The Stove is Warming Up
Fresh off an NLCS MVP and a clutch game seven performance in the World Series, veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick was bound to receive a lot of interest on the free agent market. The 36-year-old is reportedly seeking a short-term deal worth roughly $6 million a year, and the Marlins have been one of the first teams to reach out to him. Based on their needs—veteran leadership, an increase in offensive output—signing Kendrick, who hit .344 with 17 homers over 370 plate appearances in the regular season, would be a fantastic move for the Fish.
Happy Trails, Martin Prado
Martin Prado has told friends he will likely retire. Very nice career, fine leader but last few years were injury plagued.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2019
Well, this was always likely given the emotions that were on display on closing day in Philadelphia. With no obvious suitors for Martin Prado's services in 2020, the veteran appears to be ready to hang up his cleats. Held in high regard by the entire Marlins organization, this decision could lead to a position in the front office for the Venezuelan.