Now that Dee Gordon had a breakout year, do you think the Marlins will sign him to a long-term contract?
-- Derrick S., Coral Gables, Fla.
Gordon, the National League batting champion, is a strong candidate for an extension. The All-Star second baseman still has three more seasons in arbitration before he would qualify as a free agent in 2019. But the club has already indicated that it is open to a multi-year deal for him. What would it take to get Gordon signed? The Marlins signed Christian Yelich to a seven-year, $49.57 million contract late in Spring Training -- potentially, I could see a similar deal for Gordon.
Can we trade (Marcell) Ozuna for (Roberto) Osuna?
The Marlins will be exploring the market for closer candidates, but I don't see them approaching the Blue Jays for their rookie right-hander. These two may have similar-sounding last names, but I don't see this scenario happening. The play on names aside, many are wondering if the Marlins intend to trade Marcell Ozuna. They flirted with the idea at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cleveland had interest. My expectations are that Ozuna will remain in Miami, although teams seeking right-handed power are likely to call. Ozuna would be an attractive trade piece for a pitcher, most likely a starter. But he is coming off a disappointing season, and his trade value may not be as high. To me, unless the Marlins get a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter, I don't see a trade happening. My guess is Ozuna will be back in center field for Miami.
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You think Johnny Cueto is on the Marlins' radar, since pitching is a high priority for the offseason?
Cueto has certainly improved his stock with how he's pitched for the Royals in the playoffs. If the Marlins are willing to get into the high-stakes bidding for a starter, Cueto would make sense. I just don't see him winding up in Miami, though, mainly because some of the league's top-spending teams also will make a push. My projection is Yovani Gallardo, who performed well for the Rangers, being a more realistic free-agent target.
What do you see for the Marlins' payroll?
According to the Cot's Baseball Contracts website, the payroll for Miami's Opening Day roster was $69,031,500. Of that figure, the Dodgers paid $10 million of Dan Haren's salary, plus Gordon's $2.5 million contract. The Yankees were on the hook for $3 million of Martin Prado's $11 million salary. Payroll is expected to increase, but it is unclear right now by how much. I think a safe estimate is it will climb to around $80 million. Again, that is to be determined, and if something makes sense, there likely will be wiggle room.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.