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Marlins Payroll: 2020 roster coming into focus

The Marlins continue to negotiate with several MLB free agent targets, but they’ll field one of MLB’s least expensive teams regardless.

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Because the players’ financial information is made public, fans of professional sports can’t help but pay attention to payroll. This applies especially to Major League Baseball, where there’s no firm salary cap or floor, complicating the question of what the appropriate level of spending should be for a team. On the 15th day of each month, we will check in on current commitments and any upcoming decisions that the Marlins face, bringing in some historical perspective as well.

Marlins who are arbitration-eligible for the 2020 season have been listed below, along with what MLB Trade Rumors projects their salaries to be (2019 salaries in parentheses):

The deadline to submit and exchange salary figures with these four is January 10, 2020. MLB teams and players are allowed to continue negotiating with one another after that to reach a reasonable “midpoint” deal. However, the Marlins have lately adopted the “file-and-trial” approach, meaning they will take cases all the way to arbitration hearings if they aren’t settled by Jan. 10.

Whatever salary Ureña ultimately receives, it’s expected to be another team’s responsibility. Joe Frisaro of calls him “expendable” in the Marlins’ eyes coming off a mediocre season. FNTSY Sports Radio host Craig Mish reported the Blue Jays to be among several teams expressing interest.

The Marlins can use extensions to buy out future arb-eligible or free-agent years. It is hard to imagine them doing so with Aguilar, Conley or Villar, though.

2020 Guarantees

Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first to report the Yimi García signing. As of Sunday morning, it’s still unofficial—the Marlins must make a corresponding move because their 40-man roster is full.

García was non-tendered by the Dodgers earlier this offseason. He had been projected for a $1.1 million salary in arbitration. Assuming this is a straight one-year deal, the Dominican right-hander will also be under club control for 2021 via his final year of arbitration eligibility.

In his Winter Meetings preview piece, Joe Frisaro said that the 2020 Opening Day payroll “could approach $100 million.” With all due respect, that’s laughable. Frisaro suggested that same figure for the Marlins entering the 2019 season as well, which proved to be off by tens of millions of dollars.

There is still a long way to go! All indications are that the Marlins will add a productive free agent outfielder, but according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the price factor scared them away from the Nicholas Castellanos bidding. That could be the case with Avisaíl García, too.

Even with more investments coming to address the outfield and the bullpen, expect this to be one of the cheapest rosters in the league (again).

Estimated 2019 Marlins payroll: $77.6 million

Projected 2020 Marlins payroll using existing players minus José Ureña (as of Dec. 15): $61.6 million