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Our Noticias, 6/26/20: MLB transaction freeze ends; Top 100 updates; 2020 draft nuggets

The Marlins have some fascinating roster decisions to make this weekend.

Miami Marlins Workout Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Transaction freeze to be lifted at noon

We are bracing for a chaotic 52 hours. Between 12 p.m. ET Friday and 4 p.m. ET Sunday, the Marlins must decide on their “Club Player Pool” for the 2020 regular season. All 40-man roster members will be included in the 60-player group. How will the remaining spots be sorted out? That’s anybody’s guess.

The Marlins presumably want to strike the perfect balance between high-upside talent and versatility while keeping an eye towards 2021 and beyond. Keith Law of The Athletic anticipates that every team will reserve several spots for still-developing prospects to keep them occupied and properly coached in the absence of Minor League Baseball.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental to the Marlins’ business operations. Pure speculation on my part, but perhaps they would consider releasing a veteran major leaguer like Adam Conley or Jesús Aguilar? Both are coming off underwhelming 2019 campaigns and inked to one-year arbitration deals, meaning that only about 24% of their salaries are guaranteed at this point. Cutting ties between now and Opening Day would take the Marlins off the hook for the rest of the obligation and create opportunities for younger options—that was what motivated Dan Straily’s release a year ago.

Fish Stripes will be monitoring this process throughout the weekend!

Prospect updates on BA

Baseball America has made a substantial revision to their Top 100 MLB prospects list for the first time since January (subscription required). RHP Sixto Sánchez (No. 18), OF JJ Bleday (No. 49), OF Jesús Sánchez (No. 64), RHP Edward Cabrera (No. 74) and SS Jazz Chisholm (No. 97) all made the cut, and recently drafted RHP Max Meyer (No. 61) pushes the total to six Marlins reps. That’s tied for the most of any organization.

Meanwhile, BA’s Ben Badler continues his team-by-team preview of the 2020-21 international signing period. Miami’s pending deal with Cuban SS Yiddi Cappe has been known for more than a year, but Badler revealed on Thursday five more prospects who are also expected to sign when eligible in January:

Hernandez and Baldiris are Venezuelan; Guerrero, Pérez and Herrera are from the Dominican Republic.

The signing period was originally supposed to begin next Thursday, but the delay is another ripple effect of COVID-19. It’s unclear how much wiggle room the Marlins will have to add more depth beyond these players. Their total bonus pool is $6,431,000, approximately $3,500,000 of which will go to Cappe.

Walk-off links

  • Only two Opening Day games—both nationally televised—will take place on Thursday, July 23 with the rest happening the following day, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Unless MLB unexpectedly chooses to feature the rebuilding Marlins, it’s safe to assume that July 24 is their season opener.
  • While we’re on the topic, here is Roster Resource’s projection for the Marlins Opening Day roster:
Projected Marlins position players on 2020 active roster
Projected Marlins pitchers on 2020 active roster
  • The Marlins are allowed up to three exhibition games to tune up at the end of spring camp, per Ken Rosenthal. You may remember that they thrived during 2020 Grapefruit League competition (12-6 record with two ties).
  • Former Marlins president David Samson describes the unorthodox hiring process that brought Jack McKeon to the club in 2003 (beginning around the 29:00 mark).
  • Still accepting your 2020 predictions, including Marlins breakout player, most valuable player and biggest disappointment.