Hill: Sustainability at heart of Miami's blueprint

President of baseball operations discusses Stanton rumors, Hot Stove season

November 9th, 2017

MIAMI -- Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said on Thursday that he has reached out to congratulate for winning a collection of postseason awards.

But, at least publicly, the organization is not saying if the All-Star right fielder -- who paced the Major Leagues in 2017 in home runs (59) and RBIs (132) -- is part of the plans for next season.

"I've talked to Giancarlo," Hill said on a conference call. "I've called him, congratulated him on winning various awards. Yes, I have talked to him. I would say the content of our conversation will stay private. We're not going to put that out for public consumption. But I did have the opportunity to speak to him, yes."

On Wednesday, Stanton received the Players Choice Award for Outstanding Player in the National League. In October, he received the Hank Aaron Award.

One of three finalists for the NL Most Valuable Player Award, as voted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), Stanton is set to make $25 million in 2018, and he has $295 million remaining on his contract. The Marlins need more pieces to contend, but it's questionable if they can afford him.

What's next for Stanton is one of the most closely watched storylines of the Hot Stove season. Complicating his situation is the fact he has a full no-trade clause. Reportedly, the Cardinals, Giants, Phillies and Red Sox are interested.

"I don't want to speculate about any of our players, or what the future holds for any of our guys," Hill said. "That's something that we would discuss with our players first and we wouldn't discuss publicly, in the media. But he's having a tremendous year. He's a great player. Hank Aaron Award winner. Players Choice Outstanding National League Player of the Year, led the league in home runs and RBIs. He had a great season. As we look to move forward, we're going to look to see what makes sense for this organization moving forward."

The Marlins are coming off a 77-85 season, and they haven't had a winning season since 2009. At least some changes will be made.

Hill confirmed that manager Don Mattingly, under contract for two more seasons, will be returning. But outfield coach Lorenzo Bundy's contract was not renewed. The Marlins plan to absorb his role into the remaining returning staff. The team is looking for a new bullpen coordinator, since Jeff Urgelles will not return.

"The one thing I will say is that our goal is to improve this team," Hill said. "It's to get better and to build a consistent, winning organization. There's no timeline on how we do that.

"We know the steps that we need to take in order to do that, and that is what we're in the process of building. We're trying to build a sustainable, consistent, productive Major League organization."

The Marlins don't formally announce their projected payroll parameters. For 2018, it could be around $90 million, but Hill said he hasn't been given a firm figure.

"In the most general sense, when I do have that payroll, we'll work to put a team together to reflect that," Hill said. "I don't have a number to speak to at this point, but the ultimate goal is to build this thing the right way."

To build a sturdy organization from top to bottom, the Marlins may have to redirect and part with some of their core players for prospects. Center fielder and left fielder also are expected to draw interest on the trade market. The A's reportedly may have interest in both.

"I would hope a lot of the league likes our players," Hill said. "We have good players. I'm hopeful the whole league likes our players. That's just part of what the offseason represents."

More answers on what trades the Marlins may be open to could come as early as next week, during the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

"As we get together in Orlando, we'll engage with our counterparts and see what opportunities there are out there to get better," Hill said. "There's some players that are more likely and less likely to get moved. The overriding theme is we're trying to build a sustainable, consistent Major League organization."