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 (or in this case, the 20th day), we will check in on current commitments and any upcoming decisions that the Marlins face, bringing in some historical perspective as well.
Last month, the Marlins avoided arbitration by settling on one-year deals with Jonathan Villar ($8.2 million), José Ureña ($3.75 million) and Adam Conley ($1.525 million). They couldn’t quite bridge the gap with Jesús Aguilar’s representatives at MVP Sports Group, who filed at a $2.575 million salary figure while the team countered at $2.325 million. That hearing was finally held in Phoenix, Arizona this week, and Aguilar won.
The Venezuelan slugger quadruples the salary he earned in 2019 with the Brewers and Rays...if he makes the Opening Day roster. Internal first base alternatives like Garrett Cooper and Matt Kemp would be significantly cheaper. Another Cooper injury or Kemp struggling to adapt to the new position Spring Training would solidify his place on the team.
Key dates to keep in mind for Aguilar and anybody else whose contract isn’t fully guaranteed:
- If released by March 10, player is only owed 30 days’ termination pay
- If released between March 11-25, player is owed 45 days’ termination pay (like Dan Straily last spring)
Fish Stripes alum Lance Brozdowski has the intriguing story of Brad Boxberger’s offseason. With the consultation of Driveline Baseball, he made fairly dramatic adjustments to his pitch mix and even saw a tangible uptick in his fastball velocity. The Marlins inked him to a minor league deal after seeing this in action during a bullpen session.
Should Boxberger’s revamped stuff translate to success against live hitters, he has a solid chance of breaking camp with the Fish. His contract includes a $1 million base salary.
- Wei-Yin Chen (released)—$22 million
- Corey Dickerson—$8 million
- Miguel Rojas—$4.75 million
- Brandon Kintzler—$3 million
- Francisco Cervelli—$2 million
- Matt Joyce—$1.5 million
- Yimi García—$1.1 million
- Starlin Castro (bought out his club option) —$1 million
The most impactful free agent remaining on the market, polarizing Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig is reportedly on the verge of signing. Despite being linked to the Marlins during the offseason, it’s highly unlikely he joins them now considering the club’s above commitments and outfield logjam.
The Marlins currently project to have the 27th-highest MLB payroll this season, according to Roster Resource. There is a possibility that they drop one spot—behind the Rays—should José Ureña get traded.
Sorry if this wasn’t made clear in previous payroll updates, but the following figures account for the entire Marlins 40-man roster. Each of those players will earn at least $46,000 (the minimum for minor leaguers who are on the 40-man for the first time).
Estimated 2019 Marlins Opening Day payroll: $75.3 million
Projected 2020 Marlins Opening Day payroll (as of Feb. 20): $71.8 million