The Marlins committed $101M to payroll in 2012, by far the largest payroll in team history. As we all know, they didn't get the results they were hoping for. Here's a look at their existing commitments, free agents to be, and arbitration eligibles for 2013.
- $19.25M to Carlos Zambrano. The Marlins actually only paid Zambrano about $1.5M in 2012, with the rest of his salary being picked up by the Cubs, so this represents a substantial payroll increase.
- $18.5M to Carlos Lee
- $13.75M to Josh Johnson
- $10M to Jose Reyes. (Bigger worry here: Reyes' contract is heavily back-loaded and his salary goes up substantially starting in 2014.)
- $11.5M to Ricky Nolasco
- $9M to Heath Bell
- $11M to Mark Buehrle
- $6M to John Buck
- $1.5M to Greg Dobbs
- $1M (estimated) to Jacob Turner
That's a total of $101.5M to ten players. The good news for the Marlins is that they don't have any impact free agents to re-sign, and few significant arbitration cases. Here's the notable free agents to be:
- Juan Carlos Oveido: The artist formerly known as Leo Nunez has been paid $6M to sit on various non-roster lists and pitch 3 innings of minor league ball this year. If the Marlins make him an offer at all, it will likely be a minor-league contract.
Chad Gaudin: He was a bargain for the Marlins this year, signed during the offseason to a minor league contract. He has had a decent season and will be worth about $2M in the market. I'm guessing the Marlins will look for a cheaper option internally.
- Austin Kearns: The Marlins started him a lot more than they intended to, due to their outfield injuries. Kearns' once-vaunted power is gone. Probably won't be re-signed.
However, the Marlins could be in trouble regarding arbitration. Here's a look at their upcoming significant arbitration cases:
- Giancarlo Stanton (possible Super Two): Could be looking at $7-8M, a big step up from the ML minimum. This one will definitely challenge the Marlins' accountants.
- Emile Bonifacio (arb 2): Won $2.2M in arbitration this year after a pretty good 2011 season. This year, he's been hurt a lot and hasn't hit when he's been in the lineup. And there's some question as to whether his knee will be ready by the start of next season. Nonetheless, we all know how arbitration works, and he will probably be due at least $3M. Could be a non-tender.
Ryan Webb (arb 1): Should make at least $900,000 in his first arb year.
To sum it all up: The Marlins are all set for a very expensive payroll next year. The good news is, their payroll is all set for next year, with probably a maximum of $10M to be added to the existing committments (most of that going to Stanton). However, this leaves them essentially zero room to sign free agents. Look for them to attempt some salary-dump moves over the winter, although the players they'd most like to get rid of (Zambrano and Bell) have zero trade value.