Three of Miami Marlins seasoned veterans have elected free agency as the offseason begins in earnest.
After the close of the World Series, there is a five-day period where new free agent deals are not offered. The Marlins freed up space on their roster by parting ways with Curtis Granderson, Martin Prado, and Neil Walker. The Miami Marlins now have five openings on the 40-man roster.
Prado spent five seasons with Miami, starting in 2015. In 477 games overall, he hit .278/.325/.374 with 22 homers and 183 RBI. After two pretty solid seasons to start his time with the Marlins (with WAR figures of 3.3 and 3.9 respectively), his last three were either injury plagued or completely substandard. His -1.3 WAR in 2019 was by far the lowest such mark of Prado’s career, and the first full season he’s been sub-replacement level.
Granderson joined the Marlins on a one-year deal after 15 productive major league campaigns with the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Milwaukee Brewers. In 138 games this season for the Marlins, he hit just .183/.281/.356, with a dozen home runs and 34 RBI.
Neil Walker also inked a one-year deal to play for the Marlins in 2019. After solid showings from 2009 through 2017 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Mets, and the Brewers, he put forth a substandard 2018 with the Yankees, slashing .219/.309/.354 in his first American League season. Rejoining the National League seems to be just what he needed. In 115 games for Miami, he hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI.
The trio of moves leaves the Marlins with wiggle room to sign a few free agents starting next week. Still, replacing three players with a combined -1.2 WAR should be easy, as “replacement level” will more than make up the loss.
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The removal of Prado ($15 million), Granderson ($1.75 million), and Walker ($2 million) from the payroll also frees up a total of $18.75 million for the Marlins to make a play where they see fit. Areas of concern for Miami includes reliever, closer, starter, infield, outfield, and catcher. The only significant source of strength for this current incarnation of the Marlins roster lays in the depth of their minor league feeder affiliate system.
If Miami doesn’t take on five more free agents, they have options to promote from within to the 40-man roster. Sixto Sanchez, Eddy Alvarez, & Gabriel Guerrero are three such options at the Marlins disposal.