Ichiro, Ellis, McGowan top Marlins' FA list

November 6th, 2017

MIAMI -- Free agents are now eligible to sign with other clubs, which means the Marlins likely will cut ties with outfielder and perhaps backup catcher A.J. Ellis.

As of 5 p.m. ET on Monday, all free agents were cleared to sign elsewhere. For the Marlins, this means Ichiro, Ellis, reliever and infielder Mike Aviles are on the market.

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Free agency officially launched five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Before then, pending free agents were restricted to negotiating exclusively with the the clubs they were on.

Monday also was the deadline to extend qualifying offers to players headed to the open market. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the one-year offer for 2018 is $17.4 million.

If those offers are rejected, clubs receive compensation.

Ichiro, who turned 44 in late October, became a free agent Friday after the Marlins declined his $2 million club option.

Although the Marlins can still sign Ichiro for less money, that doesn't appear likely. Ichiro spent three seasons in Miami, and after 17 big league seasons, he has 3,080 MLB hits.

Miami has an in-house candidate who could be a fourth outfielder, , who is in the Arizona Fall League.

"It was an honor to have managed Ichi," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "One of the greatest players in the history of our game."

In 2017, Ichiro's playing time was reduced, as he had a career-low 196 at-bats, and he finished with a .255 batting average with a .318 on-base percentage. After the All-Star break, he hit .299 with a .384 on-base percentage.

Ichiro has stated he would like to play until he is at least 50. Now he is free to test other opportunities.

Ellis is a candidate to return as J.T. Realmuto's backup. But he may seek other options. The 36-year-old saw limited time, appearing in 51 games and having 143 at-bats, hitting .210 with six home runs and 14 RBIs.

Miami has four catchers on its 40-man roster: Realmuto, , and , the son of bench coach, Tim Wallach, who was recently claimed off waivers from the Reds.

Telis is a switch-hitter who also plays first base.

McGowan, 35, has been a versatile reliever the past two seasons in Miami. The right-hander appeared in 63 games and logged 77 2/3 innings in 2017, and was 8-2 with a 4.75 ERA.

Aviles, 36, joined the Marlins late in the season, and appeared in 37 games in a utility role. He hit .233 with a .298 on-base percentage in 86 at-bats.