With the news that J.T. Realmuto wants out of Miami, what will the Marlins do this offseason to fortify the team’s roster?
The news on Tuesday that All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto does not want to play for the Miami Marlins in 2019, another position must be addressed by the ballclub this offseason. Despite a gameplan that has called for saving money rather than spending it, the team is in a better position than before the 2018 season to make improves to its roster.
"“The Marlins are entering the Hot Stove season in an interesting position,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, “While the club doesn’t have any pending free agents to deal with, it does have some money matters to figure out.”"
If Miami can come up with a solid plan to keep valuable veterans and add pieces to a nearly-completed puzzle, things might be different in South Florida before the end of the upcoming season. I am by no means saying this will be a winning franchise in 2019. What I am saying the path to mediocrity is cleared as the 63-98 Marlins move forward.
The team must deal with six arbitration cases that include pitcher Dan Straily, Realmuto and infielder Derek Dietrich – all three who may be traded this offseason. Dietrich and Straily may not be tendered if the team decides to go that direction to save more cash for free agency.
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Realmuto has made it clear he does not intend to sign a long-term deal with Miami. His agent told the media on Tuesday he expects the All-Star to play somewhere else in 2019. The team could look to make a deal for prospects or a veteran bat at first base.
The other player the Marlins must decide on is pitcher Jose Urena, who was the team’s most consistent starter the second half of the 2018 season. While Urena has been the subject of potential trade talk, the franchise would be better to keep him on as their ace while younger arms continue to develop on the staff.
"“All qualified MLB free agents are free to sign with any club beginning at 5 p.m. ET on Friday.” Frisaro writes. “Until then, they are limited to negotiating exclusively with the teams they were on at the end of the season. The Marlins don’t have to worry about that.”"
Should Miami lose Realmuto via trade, they would need to worry about finding a dependable bat and defensive-minded backstop to replace him. It’s a situation this team is in a better position to handle this go around under new ownership.
"“Unlike last year, when the Marlins traded high-profile players as part of a roster overhaul, the organization is open to being active in free agency — but for lower-risk, moderately priced veterans to help groom along its young players,” Frisaro added."