Contract Extensions Not A Priority At the Moment


Miami has a couple of final tuning to do before the start of spring training. A couple of months ago, the Marlins offered contract extensions to Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Jose Fernandez. They have yet to offer one to Marcell Ozuna, which the organization claimed to be working on. It is safe to assume this has been put on hold as the Marlins have other priorities that help them in solidifying next year’s team.

The Marlins currently have seven players eligible for arbitration. Henderson Alvarez, Steve Cishek, Aaron Crow, Mike Dunn, Dee Gordon, Matt Latos, and David Phelps. The salary arbitration day to file is January 13th and the numbers exchange deadline is three days after. The club’s policy is that they side on going to an arbitration hearing if a deal isn’t reached by the exchange deadline. All these 7 players are crucial to the team’s overall potential success in 2015 and is the number one priority at the moment as the deadline is arriving rather quickly.

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Another priority in finalizing next year’s team is finding a 4th outfielder. There have been rumors on the Marlins inquiring about Ichiro Suzuki and Nate Schierholtz, however nothing seems to be imminent. With only Yelich, Ozuna, and Stanton as the outfielders on the 40-man roster, the next step is in finding one that can provide depth in playing all three outfield spots.

In addition, there is a hurdle the Marlins have to jump before going back to contract extension talks. Dan Haren has now become a problem for the team. Miami has already lost hope in encouraging the right hander to pitch for them and are actively pursuing trade opportunities. A few teams have inquired about Haren but the Marlins will not give up the ten million dollars that the dodgers gave them to pay for Haren’s salary. Miami has to wait for a team willing to take over Haren’s salary along with him. It may be difficult but it is the view of some baseball writers that a deal could get done.

With all those obstacles that the Marlins have to face, contract extension talks might not surface again until Miami has successfully dealt with them. Miami offered Yelich a six year deal that was close to the $31 million offer that left fielder Starling Marte accepted from the Pirates. A seven and eight year contract have been mentioned but the sides aren’t on the same agreement with money. Yelich is 22, four years younger than Marte was when signing the contract. Due to that scenario, the gold glove winning outfielder would like more money. He will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.

Jose Fernandez will be a tough one to sign as he is represented by the most well-known agent in Scott Boras. Boras usually encourages his players not to sign young inexpensive contracts and rather test the free agent market. Fernandez has already proven to be one of the best pitchers in the game and could end up getting paid big bucks. Not necessarily does that mean he won’t be a Marlin. Fernandez loves living in Miami, within his culture, but his actions will get the Marlins to open up the check book.

Adeiny Hechavarria is the Marlin most likely to sign and while the numbers really have not been reported, Miami has desires to buy out at least his last two years of free agency as he is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. Hechavarria has provided excellent defense at shortstop but many question his offensive numbers. Hechavarria really struggled in 2013, but made tremendous strides in 2014 hitting .276 with 10 triples. The young shortstop from Cuba is expected to have an even more productive year in 2015. If that is the case, the Marlins could get him at a low price due to his insufficient production in the past.

As I mentioned before Ozuna has not been offered a contract but they are expected to offer him a multi-year deal after their off-season tasks have shortened.

Next: Would Haren go to Seattle?