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Miami exercises Marte's 2021 option

@JoeFrisaro
October 28, 2020

MIAMI -- The Hot Stove season is set to heat up, and the Marlins already have made a significant move for 2021. Miami on Wednesday announced it has exercised the club option for center fielder Starling Marte, who will make $12.5 million next year. Had the Marlins decided to not

MIAMI -- The Hot Stove season is set to heat up, and the Marlins already have made a significant move for 2021.

Miami on Wednesday announced it has exercised the club option for center fielder Starling Marte, who will make $12.5 million next year.

Had the Marlins decided to not pick up Marte's option, they would have been on the hook for a $1 million buyout.

Closer Brandon Kintzler has a $4 million club option, with a $250,000 buyout, that the Marlins have to make a decision on. The team is believed to be interested in retaining Kintzler.

Wednesday kicked off the offseason, which annually begins the day after the World Series concludes.

Six players from the 2020 roster became free agents on Wednesday: right-handed relievers Brad Boxberger and Nick Vincent, catcher Francisco Cervelli, outfielder Matt Joyce and infielders Sean Rodríguez and Logan Forsythe. Cervelli has already announced his retirement.

There is a chance Miami still brings back Boxberger.

Additionally on Wednesday, the Marlins reinstated left-handers Brandon Leibrandt and Brian Moran and right-hander Drew Steckenrider from the 60-day injured list, and outrighted them to Triple-A Wichita. Steckenrider and Moran elected free agency.

Clubs have until Sunday to exclusively negotiate with their own free agents.

What to know: Marlins' 2020 offseason FAQ

The Marlins finished second in the National League East, advancing to the NL Division Series before being swept in three games by the Braves. In the Wild Card Series, the Marlins swept the Cubs in two games.

The Marlins acquired Marte from the D-backs on Aug. 31 for pitchers Caleb Smith and Humberto Mejía. The organization consistently said that it made the trade with the understanding it would pick up his club option.

“We moved some very talented players in our mind, pitchers, to get Marte,” chief executive officer Derek Jeter said earlier this month. “So that is the plan to bring him back.”

Marte, who turned 32 on Oct. 9, was the only player in the Majors to play in 61 games in the shortened 60-game regular season. He appeared in 33 games with the D-backs and 28 for the Marlins.

Marte combined for a slash line of .281/.340/.430 with six homers, 27 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. With the Marlins, he hit .245/.286/.415 with four homers and 13 RBIs.

After sustaining a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal (pinkie) of his left hand on a hit-by-pitch in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, Marte missed the remainder of Miami's postseason games.

Without Marte in the lineup, the Marlins were shut out in the final two games against the Braves.

“Obviously, he's a guy you don't want to leave off your roster,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said before they faced the Braves in the playoffs. “But we weren't comfortable with what he was going to be able to do. We went in a different direction.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.