MIAMI -- Decision time approaches for the Marlins regarding five players eligible for salary arbitration, including Dan Straily and J.T. Realmuto.
All clubs face an 8 p.m. ET deadline on Friday to tender their arbitration-eligible players. Those not tendered will become free agents.
It's a given the Marlins will tender Realmuto, their All-Star catcher, who is entering his second year of arbitration.
• Explaining salary arbitration
A tougher call will be on Straily, who turns 30 on Saturday. The veteran right-hander enters his second season of arbitration. He missed time in 2018 due to injury and logged 23 starts. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Straily's salary projection is $4.8 million after making $3.4 million in '18.
Tendering a player simply means the club is committed to extending a contract to a player for an amount to be negotiated. If the sides are at an impasse, a panel of three arbitrators may set the salary at a hearing. In such cases, the player and club each file a salary figure, and the arbitration panel selects which one.
Typically, players' arbitration years are between three and six years of MLB service time.
With some young starters getting closer to being big league eligible, the possibility remains Straily could be non-tendered. However, there are indications the Marlins aren't leaning that way. It appears they'd like to retain him to help anchor their rotation. Straily has two more years of arbitration before he would qualify as a free agent.
Right-hander Jose Urena, infielder Miguel Rojas and lefty Adam Conley round out the Marlins' arbitration candidates. All three are expected to be tendered.
There's been a great deal of focus on Realmuto this offseason, as speculation continues that he might be traded. However, the Marlins are holding firm that they are seeking a top prospect and more to consider moving arguably the best catcher in the game.
Realmuto has two more years left in arbitration before he would qualify for free agency after the 2020 season.
Straily opened this season on the disabled list with right forearm inflammation, and in September, he was shut down after sustaining a left oblique strain. Straily was 5-6 with a 4.12 ERA.
Urena enters arbitration for the first time and is the frontrunner to be Miami's Opening Day starter for the second straight year. After a slow start in 2018, the right-hander rebounded to go 9-12 with a 3.98 ERA while registering career highs with 31 starts and 174 innings pitched.
Rojas is in arbitration for the second time, and he is valuable to the team in many ways. Along with splitting time at shortstop with JT Riddle, Rojas plays plus defense at third base, and has been a late-inning defensive replacement at first base.
Rojas appeared in 153 games, batted .252 and had career bests in home runs (11) and RBIs (53).
Conley, 27, has transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen, and the lefty is in arbitration for the first time. He threw 50 2/3 innings -- all in relief -- in 2018 and averaged 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Conley, who added three saves, also is a closer option.