There has been a lot of chatter about the possibility of the Miami (Florida) Marlins making a run at Albert Pujols. A lot has been said about Pujols eating up too much of the Marlins salary for them to be able to do anything else to build a contending team. Today I want to investigate if adding Pujols alone, makes the Marlins a playoff team.
Figuring out the Money Aspect
Under my hypothetical scenario here, the Marlins are going to sign Pujols to a $25 million annual salary plus incentives. This is probably being on the modest side of what Pujols may get in terms of money. I will not specify how many years Pujols will get on his contract, although that is something that is very important for whatever team signs Pujols.
Working under this assumption, lets move to where the Marlins payroll could be sitting at with the signing of Pujols.
"2012 Guaranteed Salaries:Albert Pujols: $25,000,000Hanley Ramirez: $15,000,000Josh Johnson:$13,750,000Ricky Nolasco:$9,000,000John Buck:$6,500,000Omar Infante:$4,000,000Randy Choate:$1,500,000source: http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005_01_19_mlbcontracts_archive.html"
This would have the Marlins with 7 players under contract for 74,750,00. Then you would have to add in the players that the Marlins are locked to contracts making basically the league minimum. CTowers has already done the math on his Fishstripes Arbitration post. His math had 10 players making a combined $4.5 million. This would raise the payroll all the way up to $79,250,000. This is all before arbitration numbers. Here is an overlook on the Marlins arbitration eligible players.
- First time: Chris Volstad, Emilio Bonifacio, Donnie Murphy, Brian Sanches, John Baker
- Second time: Clay Hensley, Edward Mujica, Burke Badenhop
- Third time: Anibal Sanchez
- Fourth time: Leo Nunez
I personally expect the Marlins to bring back Volstad, Bonifacio, Mujica, and Badenhop, and Sanchez. Which means they non-tender Murphy, Sanches, Baker, Henlsey, and Nunez. I am not an expert on the whole arbitration subject and I have no idea how much each player is going to make. For an idea of what these players may get, I will use Tim Dierkes Arbitration Eligibles: Florida Marlins, on MLBTradeRumors. He has Chris Volstad projected making 2.6 million, Bonifacio $1.9 million, Mujica $1.6 million, Badenhop $1.1 million, and Sanchez $5.9 million. That is an additional $13,100,00. Altogether, this would put the Marlins payroll at $92,350,000. There is speculation that the Marlins will spend over $90 million if they signed Pujols, and there is speculation about the possibility of a $100 million payroll, but for this articles sake, this is about the Marlins limit. The Marlins would not have much flexibility to add much more on this team. Let’s then say they resign Jose Lopez and Gregg Dobbs each at 600,000. That pushes the payroll to $93,450,000. Of course then the Marlins would move Gaby Sanchez as he would be expandable due to the signing of Pujols. That is$435,000 off of the books. Salary back at $93,050,000.The Marlins would obviously be done making moves at this point and go forward with the team they have currently.
Looking at the Final Roster:
"Lineup:Catcher: John BuckFirst Base: Albert PujolsSecond Base: Omar InfanteShort Stop: Hanley RamirezThird Base: Matt DominguezLeft Field: Logan MorrisonCenter Field: Emilio BonifacioRight Field: Mike StantonBench:INF: Gregg DobbsOF: Bryan PetersonINF: Jose LopezC: Brett HayesOF: Chris CoghlanStarting Pitching:1.Josh Johnson2.Anibal Sanchez3.Ricky Nolasco4.Chris Volstad5.Alex SanabiaBullpen:Closer: Steve CishekSet-up: Edward MujicaSet-up: Ryan WebbLOGGY: Randy ChoateRP: Jose CedaRP: Mike DunnLR: Burke Badenhop"
The lineup automatically with the addition of Pujols becomes one of the best in the league. Coming off of a strong season from the same bullpen, there should not be too many question marks surrounding them. The major question marks will be raised for the rotation. Can this starting rotation stay healthy all season long, mainly Josh Johnson? Will the pitching staff be able to hold up and keep the Marlins afloat in case the offense starts to struggle? Is the rotation capable of facing top tier teams in the playoffs? A lot of this depends on the health of Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez first and foremost.
A lot of question marks but at the same time, a very talented team. But is the team good enough? You guys tell me.