The Miami Marlins face an 8 p.m. ET deadline on Friday to tender their arbitration-eligible players. Those not tendered will become free agents.
Two days and counting. What will the Miami Marlins do? After decided to designate Derek Dietrich, ending his career in a Marlins uniform, the team now must decide what to do about its remaining arbitration-eligible players and either tender them a qualifying offer or they become free agents.
The team will certainly tender catcher J.T. Realmuto, who is still under contract with the organization through the 2020 season. After that, there are decisions to make, especially with pitchers Dan Straily and Jose Urena.
While Urena seems to be a lock to remain with the team in 2019, Straily presents another challenge in the team’s rebuilding process. The veteran has been a consistent figure on the mound since coming over from the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, but injuries this season at the beginning of 2018 and at the end of the campaign have thrown a bit of caution Miami’s way.
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Until now, Straily had never spent a day on the disabled list. The fact he did that twice in one season might be a consideration when going to arbitration. His presence on the mound and his ability to pitch deep into games will be a benefit to the Marlins, who figure to trot out a young staff once again in 2019.
"“According to MLB Trade Rumors, Straily’s salary projection is $4.8 million after making $3.4 million in ’18,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes."
The Marlins are projected to have a payroll around the $100 million for the coming season. The front office is still being frugal in getting the most out its roster for the least amount of money. Realmuto is projected to make somewhere around $6.1 million for 2019, and the team still has the opportunity to offer him a long-term deal.
As we all know from the course of the last month, Realmuto has no desire to play out the majority of his career in a Marlins uniform.
Urena pitched as well as any starter in the Majors the second half of the season, going 9-12 but did not suffer a loss after the All-Star break. He is expected to be back on the bump as the team’s Opening Day starter and hopefully, he will get more run support from a lineup that is void of power.
"“Tendering a player simply means the club is committed to extending a contract to a player for an amount to be negotiated,” Frisaro explains. “If the sides are at an impasse, a panel of three arbitrators may set the salary at a hearing. In such cases, the player and club each file a salary figure, and the arbitration panel selects which one.”"
Urena figures to win his case, having proven he is currently the best pitcher on the Marlins staff. Losing Straily might not be a back-breaker as he was the subject of trade rumors last season. Miami cannot afford to become a team reliant on young, inexperienced arms or they may fall below the 63 wins the team had in 2018. There must be a balance.