The Marlins agreed to contract terms for the 2019 season with five players, including catcher J.T. Realmuto.
But the decisions were largely procedural and the Marlins are still expected to trade Realmuto before he ever dons the team’s new uniform.
Realmuto was one of five arbitration-eligible players on the team’s roster and Friday was the deadline for the Marlins to work out salaries with them for the upcoming season. The others: infielder Miguel Rojas and pitchers Jose Urena, Dan Straily and Adam Conley.
All five agreed to contracts before the 1 p.m. deadline. Realmuto agreed to $5.9 million. The others: Straily ($5 million), Rojas ($3.155 million), Urena ($3.2 million) and Conley ($1.125 million).
Had agreements not been reached, a hearing would have been scheduled for February in which a panel of arbitrators would have determined that player’s salary.
With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to spring training on Feb. 13, the Marlins are continuing to talk to teams about Realmuto, who has two seasons remaining before he can hit free agency. While the Marlins could hang on to the catcher, there is little incentive for them to do so. They are in a rebuilding phase, Realmuto provides little value for them on the field, and his value as a trade chip will never be greater.
At least six teams have spoken to the Marlins about the catcher, including the Braves, Reds, Rays, Dodgers, Padres and Astros.
Otherwise, it’s been a quiet winter for the Marlins. While each of their four National League East rivals have strengthened their rosters, the Marlins have neither signed a free agent to a major league contract or traded for anyone certain to make their Opening Day roster. The Marlins are one of only five teams which have no signed a player this offseason to a fully-guaranteed Major League contract.
Not surprisingly, Vegas odds makers are predicting the Marlins to win no more than 65 games after going 63-98 last season.