MIAMI -- With owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter in place, the Marlins are going through an organizational transition. The new group is spending most of October evaluating each department and putting a front office in place.When the Hot Stove season launches after the World Series, the big question will
MIAMI -- With owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter in place, the Marlins are going through an organizational transition. The new group is spending most of October evaluating each department and putting a front office in place.
When the Hot Stove season launches after the World Series, the big question will be: How many players from the 2017 roster will be part of the future in Miami?
"Yeah, we are rebuilding a franchise," Jeter, now chief executive officer, said during his introductory news conference earlier in the month. "But I think a lot of times people associate those words with losing. You never go into a situation and the message is that we're going to lose."
Considering the Marlins finished 77-85 and were 20 games behind the Nationals in the National League East and 10 off the pace of the second NL Wild Card spot, some restructuring of the roster is understandable.
How much remains to be seen.
Ownership hasn't given specifics regarding payroll, but the Miami Herald reported it could come in at around $90 million. In Jeffrey Loria's final season overseeing the club, the Marlins' payroll at the start of 2017 was a franchise-high $115 million.
Whatever the total payroll number turns out to be, there are challenges because of the pay increases for several core players.
The Marlins have eight players under contract for 2018 at a combined total of $95.3 million -- Giancarlo Stanton ($25 million), Martin Prado ($13.5 million), Edinson Volquez ($13 million), Dee Gordon ($10.8 million), Wei-Yin Chen ($10 million), Brad Ziegler ($9 million), Christian Yelich ($7 million) and Junichi Tazawa ($7 million).
Volquez, the club's Opening Day starter in 2017, underwent Tommy John surgery and may miss all of next year. Chen saw limited time due to a left elbow injury, and he is a medical risk as well. Those were two veteran starters who were being counted on heavily this year. Yet they combined to pitch in just 26 games and throw 125 1/3 innings combined, with Volquez logging 92 1/3.
Prado, the veteran third baseman and team leader, dealt with right hamstring and knee issues and appeared in 37 games.
The Marlins also have six players eligible for arbitration, most notably Marcell Ozuna, who could be in line for a substantial bump. Other arbitration-eligible players include Derek Dietrich, Dan Straily, Justin Bour, J.T. Realmuto and Miguel Rojas. That cohort could be in line to make between $25-30 million in 2018.
Plus, Ichiro Suzuki has a $2 million club option for next year, which the organization will decide on after the World Series.
Jeter noted the goal is to have sustainable success, which could mean trading core players now to build a brighter future.
"Everything is strategic, and we have a plan for what we're doing," Jeter said. "But at the same time, we have to have patience."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.