A few takeaways from the Marlins’ season-ending press conference Wednesday:
• The Marlins, needing two starting pitchers, will consider trading a position player for one of them.
The free-agent pitching market isn’t very attractive, and a handful of high-end arms will be very costly.
My suspicion is that the Marlins will dangle shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and/or jack-of-all-trades Derek Dietrich in a trade for pitching. But we’ll see.
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Outfielder Marcell Ozuna could be in play if Miami gets a high-end pitcher back. Last year, the Marlins were willing to deal Ozuna only if they got the specific price they asked for. And Ozuna has more value this offseason than last offseason.
“Everything changed when we got that call about Jose,” Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill said of Fernandez’s shocking death. “We know we have challenges ahead of us… We will have to look at everything.”
• Marlins payroll will rise from the low $70 million range, but the exact amount hasn’t been determined by owner Jeffrey Loria.
I’m not expecting an enormous jump to the $100 million range, but this team will be more expensive because of built-in raises for several. Click here for all the details on that.
• The Marlins picked up Ichiro Suzuki’s $2 million team option for 2017 and added another $2 million team option for 2018.
Ichiro, 42, has said he plans to play until he’s 50, and Marlins president David Samson said: “I think he probably will.”
• Per sources, Martin Prado’s new three-year, $40 million deal includes salaries of $11.5 million in 2017, $13.5 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019. He gets another $1 million if he’s traded.
• Reliever Fernando Rodney’s 2017 team option ended up at $4.5 million because of incentives, and the Marlins have no plans to exercise that option, per sources.
• The Marlins are open to a return by free-agent lefty Mike Dunn and haven’t ruled out bringing back Bryan Morris. They don’t expect to invest a lot of resources in the bullpen, which has AJ Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and a few other talented young arms.
Most of the money spent on outside personnel this winter likely will be on pitchers and position player depth. That would change if Hechavarria or Ozuna is dealt for a pitcher.
• Marlins management loves the job Don Mattingly did.
“I spent a lot of time in 2015 fielding clubhouse issues,” Samson said, adding there was not a single one this season.
Said Hill: “Our guys are maturing. There was a better feel when you stepped into that clubhouse.”
• Of the factors behind Barry Bonds’ firing as hitting coach, Mattingly said: “I don’t need to get into reasons.”
It’s clear Mattingly wants a hitting coach with a very strong work ethic and a willingness to use video to prepare his hitters.
The Marlins ranked fourth in batting average but 27th in runs.
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