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Fixing the Franchise: The Miami Marlins – Winter 2019-2020

We had an incredible run last season. The Marlins won the N.L. East, defeated the N.L. Central champion Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, and came within one game of the World Series.

My minor league system is incredibly depleted. I am OK with that. The Marlins are going for World Series victories, not AA and AAA titles.

I want to beef up my lineup a little bit heading into the offseason. I also think there are a few spots in my bullpen that I can improve. Other than that I am interested to see how this season plays out with the Miami Marlins.

If you need to get yourself caught up on the complete 2019 season, the links are below:

A Brief History
Spring Training Through Opening Day
March and April
MLB First Year Player Draft
June Through The Trade Deadline
August And September
NLDS 2019
NLCS 2019

Hall of Fame

Ichiro Suzuki was the lone Hall of Fame inductee this offseason. He ended his career with 3,089 Hits, 500 steals, and a .311 AVG over 20 seasons.

A New Manager

Don Mattingly’s contract ran out at the end of the season. A new change of direction may be exactly what this club needs. I decided to put an offer out to a former World Series Champion – Joe Maddon. My offer was for 3 years and $25 million dollars.

Joe Maddon decided to accept the Mets offer to be farm director.

Next I decided to go after a younger manager – Alvin Da Costa. At only 45 years old he was younger and unproven. He looked like he would be a key asset to our offensive approach moving forward.

Alvin Da Costa took the Tigers offer to be farm director.

MLB(R) The Show(TM) 19

I next approached Gene Holbrook. At only 43 years old, he preaches speed and plate vision. I offered him a 3 year $20 million dollar deal. He accepted. The Marlins had a new boss.

Exclusive Free Agents

I had six players that I had an exclusive window to negotiate with following the season:

NamePos.Ovr.Age
Craig KimbrelCP8531
Josh FieldsRP8034
Ervin SantanaSP7937
Logan Morrison1B7332
Ryan MadsonRP6539
Troy TulowitzkiSS6935

I considered tendering a qualifying offer to Kimbrel. If another team were to sign him, I would snag another early draft pick. If he accepted the qualifying offer I’d be on the hook for a year at $18.3M.

I decided to let all of those guys walk in favor of getting a younger roster and financial flexibility.

Around the league we had a few key players re-sign for massive extensions:

PlayerPositionTeamYRSContract
Will SmithCPGiants5$52.50M
Marcell OzunaLFCardinals5$68M
Trevor RosenthalRPNationals4$33.2M
Madison BumgarnerSPGiants5$75.50M
Dellin BetancesRPYankees3$24.90M

40 Man Roster

I had to set my 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft. I was afraid of losing some of my younger prospects with more potential. I decided to remove the following guys from my 40 man roster:

NamePos.Ovr.AgePot.
Ben MeyerRP5327B
Brett GravesRP6127B
Dixon Machado2B6728C
Yadiel Rivera2B6327C
Devin Marrero3B6729C
  • Devin Marrero was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Renewable Contracts

These are the players that were still under team control – and the contracts that I offered to each of them after the season. You have to offer a contract to a player in order to renew them the following season – if they do not accept your offer, you can renew them for 80% or more of their previous salary.

PlayerPosAGEOVRPOTYRSContractAccepted
Willians AstudilloC2877B5$8MYes
Antone CruzCF1976C4$5.2MYes
Bryce Geiger1B1975C3$2.2MYes
Chris MartinRP3375C2$1.1MYes
Alfredo MolinaRF2573C1$70KYes
Tayron GuerreroRP2971B2$920KYes
Maxwell CastilloRP2371C2$2.5MYes
Martin RiedlingRF1971D1$70KYes
Kevin TrejoRP2470C1$70KYes
Giancarlo GarciaSP2869C1$70KYes
Sandy AlcantaraSP2468B3$1.5MYes
Guillermo PerezSP2068B1$70KYes
Marshall DaleyRP2067D1$60KYes
Garrett Cooper1B2967B5$1MYes
Elliot ZimmerSP2067B1$70KYes
Alex HealyLF2466B1$70KYes
Clifton HandCF2166C1$70KYes
Phil HastingsRP1966D1$60KYes
Dan McMahanSP1965C1$70KYes
Angel PeraltaRP2365B1$70KYes
Darwinzon HernandezRP2365B3$180KYes
Julio LopezCP2464B1$70KYes
Alex MateoRP1964D1$60KYes
Randy PeraltaRP2164C1$60KYes
Willis YoungSP2360B1$70KYes
Charles Holmes1B2459B1$70KYes
Gary FernandezSP2255B1$60KYes
Rodney Tucker3B2751A1$70KYes

Everyone accepted the contracts that I offered. I was incredibly pleased with some of the deals I was able to make. Locking up Willians Astudillo, Antone Cruz, and Bryce Geiger for multi-year team-friendly deals bodes well for the future of my club.

Free Agents

Free Agency was kind of boring for me. I put together an incredibly talented Major League roster in 2019. I didn’t want to overpay for anyone – especially when there was not a player that would drastically improve my squad. I cautiously went into free agency, looking to add pieces at the right price.

PlayerPos.AgeOvr.Pot.Yrs.OfferAccepted
Nick MarkakisRF3678B1$3.7MYes
Justin Barnett3B2071C1$80kYes
Bobby CovingtonCF2271C1$80KYes
T.J. HagerCP2676B1$100KYes*
Scott RagsdaleSS2776B1$100KYes*
Babe FoxxLF2575C1$80KYes
Sandy DunlapCP2975A1$90KYes
Thad HarperRF2874C1$80KNo
Nolan EdwardsCP2774B1$80KYes
Darnell Morse2B2671B1$80KYes

I was able to add a few players to my squad prior to the Rule 5 Draft. Nick Markakis was a solid addition to my lineup – he is a great contact hitter and can provide veteran leadership for my younger players. I also take his bat away from the Braves – which will only help in the battle for the N.L. East. T.J. Hager and Scott Ragsdale were picked up with the intention of being on my bench. However, I was unable to add both players to my 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft – and lost both of them.

Significant Free Agent Signings

PlayerTeamPos.AgeOvr.Pot.Yrs.Contract
Craig KimbrelNationalsCP3185B4$20.4M
Yasmani GrandalAstrosC3187A6$65.7M
Gerrit ColeAthleticsSP2989A5$65.3M
Pedro StropRed SozCP3484B2$14.8M
Will HarrisIndiansRP3592A1$6.8M
Steve CishekDodgersRP3387B3$28.8M
Sean DoolittleRed SoxCP3391A4$40.2M
Josh DonaldsonIndians3B3491A2$22.1M

The boldest move of Free Agency was the Oakland A’s picking up Gerrit Cole for a 5 year $65.3M deal. They have their ace locked down for the foreseeable future. I was right in not giving Craig Kimbrel a qualifying offer, as his AAV is around $5M, and not the $18M I would have had to give him.

Trades

As you know by now, I am always looking to make moves to improve my roster. I was able to make a few moved to make the Marlins a much better team heading into 2020.

TradedAgeOvr.Pot.ToRec.AgeOvr.Pos.Pot.
Adalberto Mondesi2486BTwinsWhit Merrifield31912BA
Darnell Mores2671B
Willis Young2360B
Sandy Dunlap2975ATwinsAdalberto Mondesi2486SSB
Antone Cruz1976C
Matt Dudley1960B
Nolan Edwards2774BRangersJose Leclerc2686RPB
Justin Barnett2071C
Clinton Hand2166C
Elliot Zimmer2067BPhilliesSeranthony Dominguez2584RPB
Chad Marquez2265B
Alfredo Molina2573C
Chris Taylor2977BPadresKenny Davies1974RFB
Garrett Cooper2965BCarmen Cedeno1967SPB
Dan McMahan1965CDarnell Smyth22481BC
  • I first acquired All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield from the Twins for Gold-Glove shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and a couple of OK prospects.
  • Next I had a hole at shortstop to fill. I went back to the twins. I wanted Adalberto Mondesi’s speed and glove back. I had to give up a number of significant players in order to get him back. Antone Cruz – my rookie sensation, was now a Twin. I also had to include young CF prospect Matt Dudley – a 2019 second round pick, and RP Sandy Dunlap – who I had just signed.
  • I needed to replace Kimbrel and Fields next – two players that I allowed to walk in Free Agency. I continued to beef up the youngest and best bullpen in the league by trading for Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Leclerc.
  • Chris Taylor had low morale – he wanted more playing time. While I appreciated his versatility I have a younger version of him in Kike Hernandez, and now with Johan Camargo on the bench he was a distant option. I decided to look for a younger outfield guy to have off of the bench. The Padres had minor league all star Kenny Davies on the block. He was just 19 years old – I decided this was a better direction for my franchise.
  • The Blue Jays and Giants made the only significant trade of the offseason on November 18th, 2019. The Blue Jays traded away former Marlin 3B Brian Anderson, and OF Randal Grichuk. The Giants gave up 1B Brandon Belt, SP Andrew Suarez, and RP Tyrell Jarrell.

Minor League Free Agents

PlayerPosAGEOVRPOTYRSContract
William McCauleySP2767D1$60K
Pete CrosbySP2166D1$60K
Orlando FernandezSP2064D1$60K
Fletcher SandersonSP1963D1$60K
Danny MartinSP2460C1$60K
Giancarlo TorresSP2245B1$60K
Honus CoveyC1954D1$60K
John WimberlyC2452D1$50K
John Meyers1B2059D1$60K
Hitoki Sasaki1B2454D1$50K
Richie Aviles2B3070C1$70K
Larry Isaacs2B2867D1$60K
Jered Bronson2B2346B1$60K
Ben Zobrist2B3868A2$1.1M
Mike Will3B2253C1$60K
Jon Lowery3B2347B1$60K
Troy TulowitzkiSS3569C2$1.1M
John GizziSS2657C1$60K
Henry BorbonLF1970C1$70K
Terrell PukLF1957C1$60K
Marcos BarreraCF2961C1$60K
Tommy GloverCF2258C1$60K
Jose ArrojoCF2057C1$60K
Nelson CruzRF3968A2$1.1M
Elvis GonzalesRF1861D1$60K
  • For the most part, these guys are filling out my minor league rosters. It was nice to pick up veterans Nelson Cruz, Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Zobrist. They can help out the young guys on the farm and are around if I need them later in the year.

Contract Extensions

NamePos.AgePot.Ovr.Yrs.Total Salary
Seranthony DominguezRP25B884$9.5M
Jose MartinezRF31C802$3.6M
Kenny DaviesRF19B782$2.0M
  • I basically bought out the renewable years for Kenny Davies, a bonus was his overall rating jumped from a 74-78 after his extension.
  • I was very pleased with the negotiations with Seranthony Dominguez. I have him for the next four years at a very team friendly price. His overall also improved, going from an 86-88.
  • Jose Martinez has such a good bat – I am happy to have him for the next two seasons at a discounted rate.

Prospects

RankNamePos.Pot.AgeOvr.
37Derrick MeyerCPA1867
Carlos AlvaradoCB1873
Sandy AlcantaraSPB2468
Alex HealyLFB2466
Guillermo PerezSPB2068
Carmen CedenoSPB1967
Pablo ValenzuelaCB1869
Darwinon HernandezRPB2365
  • My minor league system is definitely in a different place than it was last year. I will be curious to see how some of my draft picks pan out over the course of the next few seasons. Derrick Meyer is the only player to crack the top 50 at #37.

Where Are They Now?

Below are some of the notable players/prospects I traded away in the past to get my team to where it is at today. I will continue to track their progress – hoping none of these player turn out to be Hall of Famers.

RankNamePos.Pot.Age.Ovr.New Organization
26Cyrus ReynaRPA1974Mets
30William RyuCPA2176Blue Jays
35Tom ParkSPB2070Brewers
38Gilberto BecerraCPA2272Rays
40Lawrence JacksonSPB2675Pirates
  • Brian Chu, my former top prospect is now platooning at 2B for the Blue Jays in his first full season in the bigs. They are also starting Scott Ragsdale at shortstop, a player they snaked from me in the Rule 5 draft.
  • Antone Cruz is leading off against lefties for the Twins.
  • Clinton Hand is the everyday center fielder for the Rangers. T.J. Hager is their closer – another player I lost in the Rule 5 draft.

Up Next

We head into the 2020 season. I will take a detailed look at my lineups for the season as well as opening day. Do the Marlins have what it takes to make it back to the playoffs? Can they make it to the World Series this year?

– Buzz

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