As the Marlins plod through what could be another losing season, veterans who have high-priced salaries could find their way to other teams before the MLB Trade Deadline.
I was talking with a friend of mine earlier this week, who isn’t necessarily a Miami Marlins fan, but rather a baseball fan. He told me that he doesn’t like to vent his frustration, but he had to let go of a few choice words. He said he didn’t think it was fair that Major League Baseball is so unbalanced.
The teams that are able to spend, consistently spend, meaning teams like the Marlins will remain cellar dwellers. I agreed with him to some extent, and the conversation was one of the better ones I’ve had in quite a while. For now, the Marlins are one of the worst teams in baseball. Do I think that’s going to remain the case? I’m not sure. As I have preached many times over, there is a process. It’s slow and plodding like the tortoise competing against hare who is far superior in every athletic component.
The Marlins have one of the smallest payrolls in 2019. Three players specifically comprise the majority of what this team pays out in salary. My friend’s point included the fact that the Marlins had a wealth of talent that they traded away last year when Derek Jeter took over as CEO of the club. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that he felt the Marlins word continue to produce solid players that they would eventually trade because they don’t want to pay for high-priced talent.
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That remains to be seen as I am hoping Jeter and the front office will see the light and start to become major players in free agency in another two seasons.
Once again the Marlins will make changes to their roster as the team approaches the MLB trade deadline at the end of July. It’s a necessary evil for small budget franchises that try to remain true to their game plan.
Here’s a look at three players who won’t be on the roster to finish out the season, and will have left an indelible mark on the franchise during their tenure in South Florida.
Starlin Castro – Starlin Castro was part of the deal that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York. The veteran second baseman came with a hefty contract the team accepted. The second baseman was never part of the Marlins long term plan, but he does provide leadership on the diamond and in the clubhouse.
Castro is scheduled to make $11 million this season, with a 2020 contract that will pay him $16 million. That’s way too much for the organizations, who have a solid infield prospect to replace him. I suspect Isan Diaz is biding his time at Triple-A New Orleans until an injury on the major-league roster provides a reason for a call-up.
Diaz is a slick-fielding second baseman with some power and is a much cheaper option. He was part of the deal the sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee last season.
Martin Prado – It’s not a stretch to say that Martin Prado could be the most respected player in the Marlins clubhouse. The veteran infielder gives the team depth at third base and now at first. Injuries are played a huge role in how little he played the last couple of seasons.
This 35-year-old who has 11 years of MLB experience, is making $15 million this year. He is scheduled to become a free agent in 2020. The likelihood of the Marlins re-signing him is very slim. As I have discussed with fellow baseball fans, I want Prado to remain with the team long after his baseball career is over.
As Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlin Maniac has said before, the Marlins could have a future manager of the organization in their dugout.
Because he is now a part-time player and he appears to be healthy, Prado could be a solid addition to a playoff contender. Before he got injured again last season, he was the subject of trade talks for teams meeting a solid third baseman. It looks like this could happen again in 2019.
Wei-Yin Chen – The Wei-Yin Chen contract continues to be the albatross around the neck of the franchise. It will go down in team history as one of the worst deals ever made.
When the Marlins signed Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal in 2016, he was expected to become the team’s No. 2 starter behind Jose Fernandez. The Jeffrey Loria owned Marlins could not have known that injuries and inconsistencies would define his time in Miami.
The 33-year-old left-hander Is owed $20 million this year, $22 million in 2020 and then $16 million in 2021 before he becomes a free agent. There is no way this team will hold onto him next season, and should have already cut ties with the starter turned reliever this year.
His contract makes it a virtual impossibility to trade him. The Marlins are stuck trying to determine whether they want to eat $42 million of salary.
Michael Hill, the president of baseball operations for the Marlins has said the team is still optimistic that Chen, who has been an abomination out of the bullpen so far this season, can correct the issues that are plaguing him. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. He is taking a roster spot it could be used by another player who could develop into something special.
Keeping Chen on the roster Is one of the continuing topics of conversation revolving around the team. Of all the players who could be dealt at the trade deadline, Chen appears to be the safest bet to be gone after the All-Star break, but by being released, not dealt.