All Major League Baseball teams must make decisions on whether or not to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players by this Wednesday night at midnight. The Miami Marlins have ten decisions to make before then, some much more difficult than others. If the team tenders a player a contract, that means they retain control of the player and begin working toward an agreement on contract terms with the player and his agent.
The 10 Marlins up for arbitration are pitchers Henderson Alvarez, David Phelps, Aaron Crow, Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler, Carter Capps, A.J. Ramos, and Bryan Morris. Middle infielders Adeiny Hechavarria and Dee Gordon round out the ten.
The Marlins are fully expected to tender contracts to their middle infielders and to their ace (Fernandez), as well as Koehler and the three bullpen arms (Capps, Ramos, and Morris). The Fish may, in fact, be looking to extend their second baseman Dee Gordon after an excellent year in which he won the National League batting title and the second base Gold Glove Award. The team has reportedly already contacted Dee and his agent in an attempt to open up negotiations, but as usual, these things move slowly. The team has also been interested in extending shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, but no reports have come out about any specific discussions just yet.
A potentially easy decision will be to non-tender righty reliever Aaron Crow. Crow was acquired from the Kansas City Royals prior to the 2015 season, but was injured in Spring Training and underwent Tommy John Surgery, missing the entire season. He will likely be non-tendered and will never throw a regular season pitch for the Marlins. The team will need to decide if Crow is a part of the team’s future, but he doesn’t seem to have a role so he’ll surely be on another team in 2016.
David Phelps will be a tougher decision for the team to make. Phelps filled many roles for the 2015 Marlins, starting 19 games and coming out of the bullpen four times. He was by no means spectacular, but he consistently did what was asked of him and usually kept the team in the game. He’s a versatile arm to have on the team given his effectiveness both as a starter and a reliever, but a stress fracture in his throwing arm ended his season early and may linger into next season. If the Fish think he’ll be healthy sooner than later, he should be in a Marlins uniform in 2016.
The most difficult decision the Marlins will have to make will be regarding Henderson Alvarez’s future. Alvarez was the Marlins’ Opening Day Starter, but he only appeared in four games, losing all of them. A serious shoulder injury knocked him out for the year, and the Marlins will need to decide if he’ll be able to return for 2016 and find his effectiveness again. If they think he will, his contract should be roughly the same as the $4 million he earned last season. Most players receive raises when being tendered a new contract, but with a lost season under his belt, Alvarez may be looking at a very similar paycheck.
Teams have until midnight tomorrow to make a decision, and while many of the Marlins’ decisions are no-brainers, they do have a pair of tough ones to work through in the next two days.