Marlins preparing for end to quiet period

October 31st, 2020

The MLB “quiet period” has been busy for the Marlins’ front office as the Hot Stove season is about to heat up.

In the past few days, the Marlins exercised center fielder Starling Marte’s $12.5 million club option for 2021, but on Friday, they declined closer Brandon Kintzler’s $4 million club option.

The Marlins also made a series of roster housekeeping moves, mainly addressing players who finished the season on the injured list.

It’s all standard business that takes place during the “quiet period,” the five-day stretch from when the World Series ends until the free agent signing period begins. The “quiet period” officially ends at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, which is the deadline for all clubs to sign their own free agents. After that, players can negotiate with any club.

As free agency approaches, here are three pressing issues that the Marlins face:

1) General manager search
The Marlins are in no rush to find a replacement for president of baseball operations Michael Hill, who mutually agreed to part ways with the organization two weeks ago. It’s all about finding the right fit, because the Marlins rely on input from a variety of voices in making their decisions.

“I always like to have as many opinions as possible before making a decision,” chief executive officer Derek Jeter said earlier this month.

A few names have circulated as possible candidates, but there are likely to be others in the mix. Yankees special assistant Jim Hendry, a former GM with the Cubs, is believed to be a possibility. Tim Naehring, the Yankees' vice president of baseball operations, and former Angels general manager Billy Eppler, who was dismissed by Los Angeles in late September, have also been mentioned. Of the three, Hendry, 65, may be the most realistic option.

But don’t rule out the Marlins promoting from within or hiring someone who shares in the group philosophy with the rest of the management team. With Jeter at the helm, the Marlins aren’t necessarily seeking a GM to make the final call.

Dan Greenlee, recently promoted to assistant GM, is highly regarded, and may eventually be in line to run the department. He formerly held the title of director of player personnel and is credited with building a strong analytics department. Greenlee and assistant GM Brian Chattin are currently running the department on an interim basis.

Chattin is regarded as an unsung organizational hero for his expertise in dealing with players’ service time, and roster-related issues. He’s also experienced in contract negotiations.

2) What to do with their pending free agents
The window for clubs to exclusively negotiate with their free agents closes at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, so there is a chance the club makes a move by then.

So, even though, Kintzler’s club option was declined, the two sides could conceivably still try to finalize a deal by Sunday afternoon. At this point, it appears Kintzler will test the market.

However, right-hander Brad Boxberger, who filed for free agency on Wednesday, may be a player who returns. The 32-year-old appeared in 23 games with a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings, and was a reliable setup choice.

3) Filling the catcher void
The Marlins are expected to be in the market for a catcher, and another potential option is about to be on the market. The Rays have declined Mike Zunino’s $4.5 million club option for 2021, and he is regarded as a strong defender, which the Marlins put a premium on.

Miami is not expected be in the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes.