MIAMI -- The Marlins are entering the Hot Stove season in an interesting position. While the club doesn't have any pending free agents to deal with, it does have some money matters to figure out.All qualified MLB free agents are free to sign with any club beginning at 5 p.m.
MIAMI -- The Marlins are entering the Hot Stove season in an interesting position. While the club doesn't have any pending free agents to deal with, it does have some money matters to figure out.
All qualified MLB free agents are free to sign with any club beginning at 5 p.m. ET on Friday. Until then, they are limited to negotiating exclusively with the teams they were on at the end of season. The Marlins don't have to worry about that.
But heading into Friday's signing period, Miami's front office is still getting its payroll parameters in order, which will help determine what moves are pursued this offseason. The Marlins' payroll for next year is likely to be around their 2018 figure, if not just below it. According to Cots Baseball Contracts, Miami's Opening Day roster cost $99.5 million.
Unlike last year, when the Marlins traded high-profile players as part of a roster overhaul, the organization is open to being active in free agency -- but for lower-risk, moderately priced veterans to help groom along its young players.
The Marlins also are in a better financial position compared to last offseason. They have three players currently under contract next year for $46 million: third baseman Martin Prado ($15 million), second baseman Starlin Castro ($11 million) and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen ($20 million). The Marlins also have six arbitration-eligible players who project to close to $24 million. Those nine players would account for roughly $70 million in spending.
Prado is in the last year of his contract. There is a $16 million club option and a $1 million buyout on Castro's contract for 2020.
Miami's arbitration-eligible players are catcher J.T. Realmuto, shortstop Miguel Rojas, left fielder Derek Dietrich, left-hander Adam Conley, and right-handers Dan Straily and Jose Urena.
The Marlins are open to signing Realmuto to an extension. And the team still may be open to trading Straily and Dietrich, who also are potential non-tender candidates, because each may have their salaries jump to about $5 million.
There has been speculation the Marlins would be open to trading Urena, but that isn't likely. Urena is entering arbitration for the first time, and he's more likely to be the Opening Day starter for the second straight year.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.