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Offishial news, 12/9/20: Marlins winter hints; Rule 5 Draft preview

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Wild Card Round - Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs - Game Two Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Impact of winter meetings moves, rumors

Unlike last year, the (virtual) 2020 MLB winter meetings haven’t yielded any true blockbusters as of early Wednesday morning. But still plenty to discuss.

Craig Mish reports that there is mutual interest between veteran right-hander Brandon Kintzler and the Marlins. In declining Kintzler’s club option at the beginning of the offseason, they essentially told him that he wasn’t worth $3.75 million for 2021. So expect him to sign for less guaranteed money than that (though it’s common for such deals to include performance bonuses based on games pitched/games finished). As general manager Kim Ng said last week and reiterated on the Marlins Hot Stove Show, improving the bullpen is their top priority. That implies there could be multiple additions before the offseason is through.

Korea Baseball Organization MVP award winner Mel Rojas Jr. agreed to a two-year deal with Japan’s Hanshin Tigers. The Marlins were among several MLB teams who had expressed interest, presumably viewing him as a stopgap in right field. It isn’t necessary for them to address that position—internal candidates include Harold Ramirez, Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison and Jesús Sánchez. But they’ll continue to search for somebody with decent upside on a one-year commitment.

Carlos Santana did far better in free agency than anticipated, with the Royals betting $17.5 million over the next two years on his potential to rebound to 2019 All-Star form. In that context, $4.35M for Jesús Aguilar looks great for the Marlins—they’ve had a similar impact at the plate in recent seasons (albeit in different sample sizes), and Aguilar is four years younger.

Down on the farm...

In the coming hours, “Major League Baseball is expected to officially invite 120 MiLB clubs to join its MLB-designed minor league system,” according to Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper.

As mentioned on Fish Stripes previously, Baseball Digest reports that the Marlins will move forward with the following full-season affiliates:

  • Triple-A Jacksonville
  • Double-A Pensacola
  • High-A Asheville
  • Low-A Jupiter

That’s still unofficial, however.

Then Thursday at noon ET, we have the Rule 5 Draft. Experts predict less activity than usual coming off a canceled 2020 minor league season.

Baseball America doesn’t mention any Marlins as likely targets for other teams. Unprotected infielder Joe Dunand has done everything possible to boost his stock with a winter ball hot streak; outfielder Brian Miller and relievers Tyler Stevens and Tommy Eveld also have extensive high minors experience; right-hander Josh Roberson boasts a 1.78 ERA in his career. Those are the potential losses that wouldn’t totally stun me.

Three years in a row, the Marlins have made a Rule 5 pick for themselves. With two current openings on the 40-man roster, it’s once again a possibility.

Walk-off links

  • This week only, new sign-ups for Marlins Home Run Rewards are entered to win Marlins gear from Fanatics (only South Florida residents are eligible).
  • Former Miami Herald Marlins beat writer Clark Spencer has submitted an unusual Hall of Fame ballot.
  • Jamie O’Toole tells Swimming Upstream what it takes to run the Jupiter Hammerheads and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
  • Don Mattingly is baseball’s 20th-most handsome manager, according to Craig Calcaterra, who updates his rankings each year entering the winter meetings. In his The Outsiders article series, Joe Posnanski takes us back to the mid-1980s when Mattingly was the “Best Player in Baseball.”
  • Speaking of rankings, the Marlins placed 177th on the new Fansided 250 after being unranked in last year’s edition.
  • Kim Ng will be a keynote speaker Thursday at the Bleacher Report Women’s Network end-of-year event. Register for free!
  • Secret Base, part of our SB Nation family, is fast approaching one million subscribers on YouTube. Join in, won’t you? They are the masterminds behind this deep rewind of the Dee Gordon leadoff home run and a thorough chronology of how the post-1997 Marlins firesale planted the seeds for the improbable 2003 World Series title.