MIAMI -- The Marlins reached agreement with infielders Miguel Rojas and Derek Dietrich on one-year deals Friday, but the organization was unable to come to terms with three of its core players who are arbitration-eligible for the first time.
Miami now is preparing for arbitration hearings with catcher J.T. Realmuto, right-hander Dan Straily and first baseman Justin Bour. The sides were unable to reach agreements prior to Friday's 1 p.m. ET salary-exchange deadline.
MLB.com has confirmed Realmuto has filed for $3.5 million, while the Marlins' offer is $2.9 million. Bour's figure is $3.4 million, with the team countering at $3 million. Straily's gap is closer, as the right-hander is seeking $3.55 million to the team's $3.375 million.
Avoiding arbitration remains an option because negotiations are permitted up until the hearing begins. But the Marlins have traditionally been a "file and trial" franchise, increasing the likelihood the three will have their 2018 salaries determined by an arbitration panel. Arbitrators will pick the figure filed either by the team or the player.
Five Marlins qualified for arbitration, with Realmuto, Straily, Bour and Rojas going through the process for the first time. Dietrich is in his second year of eligibility.
Rojas, according to sources, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a deal for $1.18 million. He made $535,000 in 2017.
Due to a broken left thumb and left shoulder issues, Rojas was limited to 90 games last year but was still impactful playing mostly shortstop, compiling a .290/.361/.375 slash line. The right-handed-hitting utility player has 3 years and 43 days of service time.
Rojas and JT Riddle are the frontrunners to be regulars or platoon options at shortstop.
Dietrich has been a valuable role player the past few seasons.
Dietrich, with 3 years and 151 days of service, is a left-handed hitter who compiled a 2017 slash line of .249/.334/.424 with 13 homers, 22 doubles and 53 RBIs in 132 games. He gets a raise after earning $1.7 million last year. Dietrich provides depth at second base, third base, left field and first base. He will make $2.9 million, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
Players eligible for arbitration generally have between 3 to 6 years of Major League service time. There are exceptions, with those qualifying as Super Two status. Miami had none that fit that category.
Realmuto, with 3 years and 38 days of service, has emerged as one of the top catchers in the Majors. He's also among the most athletic. Last year, he appeared in 141 games and posted a slash line of .278/.332/.451 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs. His salary was $562,500.
The Marlins have three more seasons of control on Realmuto, who would be eligible for free agency in 2021. There are still questions as to whether the 26-year-old wants to be part of the club's rebuild, and Miami is listening to potential trade offers.
Bour, who made $552,500 last year, has become the Marlins' biggest power threat. The left-handed-hitting first baseman had a slash line of .289/.366/.536 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. He has 3 years and 64 days of service time, but he missed about two months in 2017 due to a right oblique injury.
The Marlins acquired Straily from the Reds last January, and the right-hander came as advertised. The 29-year-old paced the club in innings (181 2/3) and starts (33) to go along with a 10-9 record and a 4.26 ERA. He is a candidate to start on Opening Day.
Straily has 3 years and 126 days of service time, with a salary of $552,100 in '17.