Now that the regular season has come to an end, the Miami Marlins now focus on six players who have become eligible for salary arbitration.
The good news is there aren’t any players on the current Miami Marlins roster who are eligible for free agency. It means there is a chance the same roster the organization ended the 2018 season with will remain intact for Spring Training and beyond. Now, the team moves on to the possibility of arbitration for some Marlins players.
There are seven players who are arbitration eligible, which means they could win their requests for pay raises, which would, in turn, increase the team’s payroll in 2019. As we all know, keeping salaries on the current roster to a minimum was something the new ownership group wanted when it took over the franchise.
Some $50 million in salary was dumped for the 2018 season. We all saw the product on the field, which was a direct effect of making roster moves to save cash for the future.
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"As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com explained, “Generally, players with between three and six years of MLB service time are arbitration eligible.”"
Here is a look at the seven players who are eligible for arbitration this offseason.
The All-Star catcher is still the subject of trade rumors. He is also the first priority in the organization. Keeping J.T. Realmuto is a “must” in my opinion. He is a leader on the field and in the locker room.
Realmuto led the Marlins with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 2018. The front office would like to get a long-term deal done, but will also listen to offers for him, if the right package is put together in return.
There is no player on the roster set to take his place behind home plate and there is no other player on the team right now that has the name recognition he does.
No other player on the Marlins roster did more to help their case from the start of the season until last week. Jose Urena became the unquestionable leader of a very young pitching staff. The 27-year-old could command a decent raise if both sides go to arbitration.
Urena finished the season 9-12 and won his last six of seven outings. He pitches in 174 innings, had a 3.98 ERA.
Urena will be the front-line starter once again next season and is a good bet to be the Marlins opening day starter once again. The first half of the season was by far a lesson in how hitting must support good pitching, where he was 3-12 at one point.
I suspect the team and Urena will go to arbitration with the pitcher winning his argument.
Dan Straily was injured at the beginning of the season and at the end of the season. The veteran is still the subject of trade talks and could very well be moved prior to Spring Training.
He posted a 5-6 record with a 4.12 ERA in 23 starts this season. In the middle of the second half of 2018, he became a workhorse, eating innings and giving the bullpen a much-needed rest. I like Straily on this pitching staff, but I am not sure it makes sense with the many young arms the team has in the minor leagues and on the current MLB roster.
Straily should be moved before Spring Training. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility.
I can say Derek Dietrich does not get the respect and media exposure he deserves. The Marlins are fortunate to have a player who can play multiple positions and hit with some power anywhere in the lineup.
Dietrich had 16 home runs and 45 RBI while batting .265 this season. He was considered a “fringe” player at the MLB Trade Deadline and was also considered one of the Marlins who could be traded during the waiver trade period.
Because of his flexibility on the diamond, the team should keep him on the roster this coming season.
Maybe the most underrated player on the team’s roster. Miguel Rojas is in competition to play shortstop next season with J.T. Riddle. Right now, I would bet the veteran is in the lineup on Opening Day.
Rojas hit 11 home runs and had 53 RBI this season.
This is a tough one to figure out. No one had as much of an up and down season out of the bullpen as Kyle Barraclough who looked to be dominant one moment and looked as frail as wet paper the next.
How the Marlins decide to use the reliever next year is unknown as he is all but out of competition for the closer’s role. Barraclough was 1-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 61 appearances this season/
I like Adam Conley out of the bullpen and he could be the sleeper pick for the closer’s role in 2019. He will have competition.
Conley had three saves to his credit and posted a 3-4 record with a 4.03 ERA. A converted starter, he could be the team’s long reliever next season as well. He is potential to someday become one of the leaders of a young bullpen here in Miami.