Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the team
A six-pack of Marlins notes on a Monday:
▪ At least one team pursuing a trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has asked the Marlins for permission to speak to his agent about a multiyear contract. But the Marlins have denied that request, according to someone with direct knowledge.
The Padres wanted to speak to Realmuto’s agent, Jeff Berry, according to Fox’s John Paul Morosi. Realmuto is eligible for free agency after 2020, and the Padres wanted to gauge their chances of striking a long-term deal with him before dealing assets to the Marlins in a trade.
Realmuto — who is set to earn $5.9 million this season — would like to be traded, and the Marlins remain engaged in talks with several teams, including the Padres and Dodgers. The Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves also have interest.
▪ Though holdouts are unheard of in baseball, Berry declined to comment when asked directly through a spokesperson if Realmuto will report to spring training in two weeks if he has not been traded. But an associate of Realmuto said his impression from Realmuto is that he will show up.
Though the Marlins are open to dealing Realmuto and could at any time, they’re planning spring training as if he will be there.
▪ The Marlins have shown no inclination to extend the contract of manager Don Mattingly, who is entering the final year of his deal.
But here’s the important perspective on that: Owner Derek Jeter comes from an organization, the Yankees, where managers (Joe Torre, Joe Girardi) and the general manager (Brian Cashman) served until the end of their contracts without getting extensions.
Cashman, for example, signed a new deal with the Yankees after his old one ended. So Jeter is comfortable with this approach.
There’s mutual respect among Jeter, Mattingly and president/baseball operations Michael Hill. Mattingly has embraced the team’s rebuilding program.
But Mattingly, like everyone else, will be evaluated this season.
Mattingly, 57, is 219-265 in three seasons as Marlins manager.
▪ The Marlins are now open to signing a left-handed-hitting outfielder before Realmuto is traded. They offered a contract to veteran Nick Markakis, but Markakis opted to re-sign with the Braves for $4 million this season. He hit .297 with 93 RBI last season.
Among left-handed-hitting outfielders still available: Curtis Granderson, Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gonzalez, Marwin Gonzalez, Neil Walker (an infielder who has played outfield) and Denard Span.
For those asking why the Marlins didn’t keep left-handed hitting Derek Dietrich, he didn’t fit the prototype for the Marlins, who want to be strong defensively. Dietrich remains among dozens of unsigned free agents.
▪ The Marlins had discussions with reliever Bryan Harper, the brother of unsigned star outfielder Bryce Harper, but did not come to an agreement.
Harper, 29, is 16-7 with a 3.66 ERA and 15 saves in seven minor-league seasons. He has not pitched in the big leagues.
Among under-the-radar relievers to keep an eye on in Marlins spring training: right-hander Nick Anderson, who was 8-2, with a 3.30 ERA, four saves and 88 strikeouts in 60 innings at Triple A Rochester (New York) last season. He was acquired from Minnesota in November in exchange for infielder Brian Schales.
The Marlins could open the year with Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley as situational closers barring any roster additions.
▪ The Marlins have just one player in mlb.com’s top 100 prospect list — outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, who’s 99th.
“After tying for the lead with six preseason Top 100 prospects in 2013, Miami has had a total of 10 in six years since,” mlb.com wrote.
But the Marlins believe they have a lot of legitimate quality prospects — more than a half dozen starting pitchers and outfielders, among a bunch of others.