The Marlins on Friday tendered contract offers to their five players eligible for salary arbitration, including pitcher Dan Straily and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Whether Realmuto is still with the team on Opening Day, however, remains uncertain. The Marlins are fielding trade offers for Realmuto after failing so far to reach agreement on a contract extension that would keep him in Miami beyond the 2020 season.
Realmuto is two years away from hitting free agency. The Marlins have received inquiries from a number of teams about acquiring Realmuto, with the Astros and Dodgers mentioned most prominently as possible landing spots for one of the premier catchers in the majors.
The Marlins gave themselves some insurance at the catching position by signing Bryan Holaday to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Holaday served as Realmuto’s primary backup last season and led the majors with a caught stealing percentage of 45 percent.
With the possible exception of Straily, whose salary is projected to climb through arbitration to about $4.8 million according to MLB Trade Rumors, the other four players tendered contracts before Friday’s deadline came as no surprise.
In addition to Straily and Realmuto, the Marlins also tendered contracts to starting pitcher Jose Urena, infielder Miguel Rojas, and reliever Adam Conley. The Marlins eliminated any decision on one of their other arbitration-eligible players, Derek Dietrich, by releasing him.
Straily was a question mark only because he managed to throw 122 innings last season due to injuries and was in line for a salary increase, as with any other arbitration player. And with a number of young pitchers battling for rotation spots, the Marlins could have decided to jettison Straily the same way they did Dietrich.
As it stands, the Marlins decided to keep the veteran and could try to move him at the trade deadline in July.