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Anderson leads group of arb-eligible Marlins

@cdenicola13
January 13, 2021

MIAMI -- The young Marlins entered this offseason with just eight arbitration-eligible players. Prior to December's non-tender deadline, Miami reached agreements on one-year contracts for 2021 with first basemen Jesús Aguilar ($4.35 million, plus incentives) and Garrett Cooper ($1.8 million). The Marlins did not tender contracts to reliever Ryne Stanek

MIAMI -- The young Marlins entered this offseason with just eight arbitration-eligible players.

Prior to December's non-tender deadline, Miami reached agreements on one-year contracts for 2021 with first basemen Jesús Aguilar ($4.35 million, plus incentives) and Garrett Cooper ($1.8 million). The Marlins did not tender contracts to reliever Ryne Stanek (signed with Astros) and starting pitcher José Ureña (joined Tigers), but they did acquire arbitration-eligible reliever Adam Cimber in a trade with Cleveland.

If the Marlins and each of the following players cannot agree on a salary by Friday's 1 p.m. ET deadline, both sides will exchange salary figures for the upcoming season and a hearing will be held in February since Miami is a file and trial club. The case would be brought before a panel of arbitrators to determine the player's salary for the 2021 season.

Brian Anderson, 3B
Arbitration eligibility: First year
Cot's Baseball Contracts projection: $2.5 million

The 27-year-old Anderson, who is Miami's top homegrown player, hit .255/.345/.465 with an .810 OPS in 59 games in 2020. When a COVID-19 outbreak sidelined 18 Marlins players, Anderson was a steady presence in the middle of the lineup. Over the past two seasons, he has recorded 73 extra-base hits and posted a 115 OPS+ in 185 games. His '19 campaign was cut short after fracturing his left hand on a hit-by-pitch.

If Marlins fans had their say, the organization would come to terms on an extension with Anderson, who cannot become a free agent until after the 2023 season.

“I would say I personally would like to see how this year goes before we ventured down that road,” general manager Kim Ng said in early December, “just so I have a better understanding of who he is as a player and I just get a better sense of the situation.”

Jorge Alfaro, C
Arbitration eligibility: First year
Cot's Baseball Contracts projection: $1.25 million

During his first season with the Marlins in 2019, Alfaro set career highs for games (130) and homers (18) while posting a 94 OPS+. But last season was a forgettable one for Alfaro, who missed time during Spring Training with a left oblique strain and the first month of the season with COVID-19. Alfaro then slashed .226/.280/.344 with a .624 OPS in 31 games. When the postseason came around, Chad Wallach took over starting duties as the club prioritized defense and game-calling abilities.

With rumors beginning to swirl about the Marlins checking in on Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, Alfaro's career is at a crossroads.

Yimi García, RHP
Arbitration eligibility: Final year
Cot's Baseball Contracts projection: $1.75 million

After missing time with COVID-19, García proved to be a reliable arm in high-leverage situations for the Marlins in 2020. He permitted only one run in 15 regular-season innings, compiling a 0.93 WHIP, a 1.66 FIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. García has a career 117 ERA+ in six MLB seasons.

Should the Marlins not sign a free-agent closer, García will likely be their guy for the final outs -- though manager Don Mattingly said he would be flexible late in games depending on matchups.

“I love Yimi, and I have total confidence in him,” Mattingly said in December. “As you watch the games, he got the toughest part of the order. Sometimes that was the seventh. If it was the top of the order and we had to go through a tough stretch, Yimi would get that call. He has already been used as the guy who goes through the toughest guys.”

Richard Bleier, LHP
Arbitration eligibility: Second year
Cot's Baseball Contracts projection: $1.5 million

Acquired from the Orioles after the Marlins' COVID-19 outbreak, Bleier didn't allow an earned run in all but three of his 19 outings. Over Bleier's five-year MLB career, lefties have posted just a .220/.265/.304 slash line with a .569 OPS against him. He will be joined by fellow southpaw Ross Detwiler in Miami's bullpen.

“I think Richard Bleier is a guy ... that I felt did a great job for us -- got a little banged up in there -- loved what he was able to do,” Mattingly said. “I feel like he'll get lefties and righties out. He throws the ball on the ground. He has been the one guy that we have found that for the most part got Freddie Freeman out, which has been trouble for the whole league, but we got him out a few times. I like Richard and what he does back there.”

Adam Cimber, RHP
Arbitration eligibility: First year
Cot's Baseball Contracts projection: $850,000

The 30-year-old sidearmer is 9-12 with a 3.89 ERA and one save in 152 career relief outings between the Padres and the Tribe. In 2020, Cimber posted a 3.99 FIP and a 1.324 WHIP for the second straight season. He is one of Miami’s four offseason bullpen additions so far.

Christina De Nicola covers the Marlins for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.