Asking and answering on Marlins questions as the team begins attempts to slash payroll:
• So what will the payrolls look like for the next few years?
According to someone with direct knowledge, new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter told other owners during the application process that their payroll projection is not only $90 million for the 2018 season, but $90 million for 2019 season as well.
There is a planned jump in 2020, but the amount will depend on how much the team can increase revenue.
• These new owners say they have creative ideas to increase revenue. But can they realistically?
According to sources, Sherman and Jeter are eyeballing at least four ways to increase revenue, but at least two of them seem shaky. Here’s what they’re banking on:
1) They believe the annual rights of their TV contract will jump dramatically from $20 million per year when the deal with Fox expires after 2020. One person who bid on the Marlins said bidders projected, after 2020, an annual increase to somewhere between $40 million and $70 million. But while an increase is expected, the amount will depend on whether the Marlins can find a legitimate bidder to challenge Fox. There isn’t one yet that has emerged, with Comcast having shown little interest in Marlins rights in the past.
2) Sherman and Jeter believe they will be able to sell naming rights for the stadium, which could command $5 million to $10 per year. This seems realistic.
3) The owners believe attendance will rise, partly because Jeter is more popular than Jeffrey Loria. That’s a questionable assumption if the team isn’t winning.
4) The owners believe they will increase revenue by making a stronger attempt to appeal to the Hispanic market than the past regime did. Whether that’s realistic, or how it would boost revenue, remains to be seen.
• How realistic is it that they can accomplish their goal of slashing $49 million off the payroll by dealing the three players they prefer to trade – Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Martin Prado?
It’s realistic with Gordon – Miami should find a taker – but the question with Stanton is whether they will find a team willing to pay all of his $25 million salary for 2018 and most or all of the money left on his contract, which will pay him a total of $295 million - or between $25 million and $32 million each of the next 10 years.
Finding a taker for Prado – due $13.5 million and $15 million – the next two seasons seems unrealistic, according to former general managers Jim Bowden and Dan O’Dowd, unless Miami offers a sweetener in the deal, such as Kyle Barraclough. And there’s no indication if they would do that.
• Could anyone else be dealt?
Absolutely. St. Louis, beyond Stanton, reportedly also is interested in reliever Brad Ziegler, and the Marlins likely would eagerly part with his contract - worth $9 million next season - if given the opportunity.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney reported, the Marlins have told teams that they’re not looking to deal Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna at this point. But that could change if they can’t dump Prado.