The Marlins have until 1 p.m. ET on Friday to exchange salary figures with their remaining arbitration-eligible players. Though they entered the MLB offseason with a potentially large class, Jesús Aguilar and Garrett Cooper agreed to one-year deals in December, while José Ureña and Ryne Stanek were cut loose (and have since signed with the Tigers and Astros, respectively).
That leaves five more guys to address: Jorge Alfaro (first time arb eligible), Brian Anderson (first time), Richard Bleier (second time), Adam Cimber (first time) and Yimi García (third and final time). Their combined salaries for the 2021 season are projected to be in the $7-11 million range, per MLB Trade Rumors.
Most of the variability here stems from Anderson. Based on the precedent set by other first-time eligible third basemen, he would have been on track for a $4-plus million payday had he maintained his level of production over the course of a full-length season. But the pandemic-shortened schedule limited his counting stats, which traditionally carry a lot of weight in this process. In the words of ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “divergent perspectives on how to judge statistical achievements—those who had good seasons want to project their statistics out over 162 games and use those, while others don’t—could cause spectacular disagreements.” Brace yourselves for “an ugly, ugly year,” per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
One way to avoid any animosity is to pay BA. With their revenue streams temporarily dried up, ironing out a long-term, back-loaded contract extension would give Miami the flexibility to save money on him in 2021.
Do not get your hopes up, though. Following the example set by former teammate J.T. Realmuto—who was also represented by the agency CAA during his Marlins tenure—I expect there to be a substantial gap between Anderson and the club, so much so that they take their case to an arbitration hearing. That is a possibility for Alfaro as well. Non-closing relievers like Bleier, Cimber and García should be easier to compromise with, thankfully.
While the collective bargaining agreement allows for negotiations to continue all the way until the hearing date, the Marlins have instead used a rigid “file-and-trial” approach for many years—unless players settle by this afternoon, they will lawyer up.
J15 is the new J2
Displaced due to COVID-19, the 2020-21 MLB international signing period opens on Friday and will run through Dec. 15. Talented teenagers—predominantly from Latin America—who had hoped to turn pro last summer can finally put pen to paper.
The worst-kept secret in the baseball world is that 18-year-old Cuban shortstop Yiddi Cappe has an agreement with the Marlins for approximately $3.5 million. Loaded as the Fish farm system currently is, Cappe should immediately slot in somewhere among their top 30 prospects.
The Marlins’ bonus pool this year is $6,431,000. That’s tied for the largest of any team, yet flexibility is limited due to the Cappe commitment. Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that they have deals in place with catcher Ronald Hernández (Venezuela), outfielders Kevin Guerrero and Jorge Pérez (Dominican Republic), and left-hander Luis Baldiris (Venezuela).
- In addition to serving as executive director of the Miami Marlins Foundation, Raquel “Rocky” Egusquiza has been announced as the franchise’s first Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- The Fish are seeking applicants for their new Director of Partnership Development. A minimum of 10 years of partnership sales experience is required.
- Free agent and two-time AL Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber will likely agree to terms with a team this weekend. The Marlins are a longshot to sign him, but his availability inspired our latest podcast episode.
- Plenty of interesting Marlins nuggets from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, reiterating the front office’s intention to find a veteran hitter and citing an anonymous source who believes top prospect Sixto Sánchez must spend more effort on his preparation between starts. Also, Jackson disagrees with me about the rotation situation (“it’s time to allocate all of the rotation spots to the young pitchers,” he says).
- The moribund Phillies bullpen gets a boost with the acquisition of Archie Bradley on a one-year, $6 million deal. The signing hasn’t been officially announced, but Bradley couldn’t suppress his excitement any longer. The Marlins, of course, ought to be seeking ‘pen help of their own, and he in particular seemed like a good fit. Oh, well...
- Prior to the Bradley news, SportsBetting.ag was actually offering better odds for the Marlins to win the NL East than the Phillies.
- Right-handed slugger José Martínez is joining the Mets. Considering the club’s surplus of first base/corner outfield types, ESPN’s Buster Olney sees this as “an educated guess” from them that there will be a universal designated hitter in 2021 (Olney has reported that as a strong likelihood throughout the offseason despite the league’s silence on the issue).
- Starling Marte ranks No. 9 among MLB center fielders right now, according to MLB Network’s The Shredder. Entering his age-32 season, Marte is the oldest player to crack the top 10.
- Braxton Garrett checks in from the MLB Rookie Career Development Program.
- Spanish-language content from a pair of Cuban-born prospects: left-hander Sandro Bargallo is eager to follow in the footsteps of his countrymen, and outfielder Víctor Mesa Jr. answers fan questions on his YouTube channel.
- Joe Frisaro received a nice retirement gift from the team he covered daily for the better part of two decades.
- And finally, a well-deserved opportunity for Jeremy Taché! The Swings and Mishes producer/co-host has a new day job with FOX Sports Florida. It’s an ideal fit for somebody as effervescent and clever as Jeremy who grew up rooting for these teams. He confirms that he will continue doing the podcast on the side. Follow him on Twitter.
OFFICIAL: FOX Sports Florida is excited to announce Jeremy Taché as our new South FL Digital Host & Reporter! @jeremytache will be creating content & covering the @MiamiHEAT, @FlaPanthers and @Marlins for us all year long. Give him a follow & stay tuned for what's next! pic.twitter.com/zvILraWiF6— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) January 14, 2021