Miami Marlins: Looking ahead to the future of this organization

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Miami Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 24, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Miami Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 24, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /
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Can the Miami Marlins prove they can become a successful baseball team with one of the smallest payrolls in all of MLB?

The Miami Marlins, a team that already has one of the smallest payrolls in Major League Baseball, is about to see those numbers get even smaller once the players are eligible for free agency.

The ball club is about to part ways with Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, which according to mlbtraderumors.com, the Marlins have only $33.625MM in payroll committed to guaranteed salaries and projected arbitration salaries. Those numbers could drop even more if the team does not tender an offer to pitcher Adam Conley or shortstop J.T. Riddle or both.

In other words, the front office, or shall we say, Derek Jeter, will have money to spend in free agency or to re-sign someone like Castro as a lesser deal.

This is going to be an interesting offseason for this franchise, one that should be more involved in free agency with a chance to add a mid-level player or two to help the batting order or strengthen the bullpen. What this ballclub cannot do is stand pat and do nothing if it hopes to move up in the standings next season.

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"“Given the organization’s usual M.O., it’s hard to project that the Marlins could spend the extra money on a higher tier of free agent, but the financial flexibility is there if Jeter and {Michael] Hill see an intriguing opportunity,” writes Mark Polishuk. “Notably, there are a few relatively youthful corner outfielders kicking around that may not all find the kinds of opportunities they are hoping for with other organizations.”"

The Marlins at some point are going to make an impact on the Majors with a signing that will shock many. It could happen this offseason, with Hill identifying the team’s need for more hitters with power even before the end of the 2019 season.

Financially, the front office could also look to extend a bigger deal to Brian Anderson, who is a cornerstone player and should be at third base when the season begins in 2020.

"As Polishuk explains, “Anderson has two seasons of quality results under his belt, and he’ll line up as the everyday option at either third base or (less likely) in right field, allowing the Fish a bit of flexibility in their offseason shopping.”"

The Marlins could take the approach of finding one big bat – maybe Jose Abreu and one starting pitcher – possibly Zack Wheeler, and hope the lineup finds more rhythm at the plate. Miami could also be in the market for an outfielder with power, where someone like Yasiel Puig or Marcell Ozuna makes sense.

There is a bigger issue here the Marlins have not addressed, which Polishuk jumps into. Manager Don Mattingly was given a two-year contract extension, but what if the roster does not improve? What happens then.

"“The larger question is, as with Mattingly, whether any of these players could conceivably be part of the next winning Marlins team, given that the Fish still look to have at least two more rebuilding years ahead of them,” he writes.“This wouldn’t be a case of cutting payroll since almost every member of Miami’s roster is a pre-arbitration player, though CEO Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill could look to turn any single one of the club’s notable performers into a younger/higher-upside player (or players) who could help the team down the road.”"

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For now, the Marlins should concentrate on improving the lineup and adding strength in the middle of the order. Finding veteran arms for the bullpen would be helpful. If Miami can get a veteran starter to be the team’s fourth or fifth arm in the rotation, that would go a long way towards settling issues at the plate and on the mound.

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