Making Things Official
The Marlins have finally announced the signing of catcher Francisco Cervelli to a one-year deal worth roughly $2 million. The deal was delayed due to there being no room on the 40-man roster, but former Marlins Minor League Player of the Year Austin Dean has been designated for assignment to make room for the soon-to-be 34-year-old backstop. Cervelli has hit .269 over 714 MLB games, and will be tasked with furthering the development of a young pitching staff behind starter Jorge Alfaro, providing much needed depth at the position. His apparent susceptibility to concussions is worth noting but, if he is able to stay healthy, Cervelli could be a solid signing.
Whether Dean is claimed by another team, traded, or sent to the minors remains to be seen. Despite showing more promise than Lewis Brinson at the major league level, Dean was determined to be the odd man out on a 40-man full of outfielders. The 26-year-old has shown that he has mastered Triple-A—he is a .331 hitter across 160 games at that level—but cannot seem to adjust to the big leagues as evident by his .223/.268/.388 slash line with Miami. His defense is also questionable, which seriously limits his value to any potential suitors.
Two of Miami’s biggest off-eason acquisitions still do not have contracts for 2020, as both Jonathan Villar and Jess Aguilar are arbitration eligible, alongside projected bullpen pieces José Ureña and Adam Conley. If contracts are not agreed upon before noon ET today, then an independent arbitrator will side with either the team’s offer or the player’s demands in a hearing to be held before Spring Training. Collectively, the quartet are expected to earn in the ballpark of $18.6 million this coming season, with Villar raking in more than half of that figure.
Who’s in Center?
Even after Dean’s DFA, the Marlins still have ample outfield options on their 40-man roster. The plan seems to be a Corey Dickerson/Harold Ramírez platoon in left field, with Garrett Cooper—who deserves reps at first base—backing up Brian Anderson in right. Meanwhile, the center field battle is currently wide open heading into Spring Training. Magneuris Sierra, Jon Berti, Villar, Brinson, and Monte Harrison all could win the starting job with a strong showing in Jupiter, making spring ball this year one of the most important in recent memory.
Better Late Than Never
Even though the home run sculpture was evicted from center field before the 2019 season, it will be returning to Marlins Park this year despite a few setbacks causing the relocation project to miss a key deadline. The 70-foot tall art piece will now stand outside of the stadium between the Third Base Garage and The Clevelander, and still figures to be a focal point of the ballpark experience.
Breaking out the Crystal Ball
Only 13 players in all of baseball will take the field for the same team in 2020 as they did in 2010 without moving elsewhere in-between. 13. That, coupled with the fact that the Marlins have not historically held onto players for very long makes guessing which current player on the roster will still be with the team in 2030 a bit trivial, but fun nonetheless.