Team president David Samson on Monday night dismissed speculation that Florida is looking to unload salary. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has signed off on a roughly $35 million payroll, and the club conceivably could approach that total without shipping off any more players.
Already this offseason, the Marlins have completed three trades where four impact players from this past season were dealt. Mike Jacobs went to the Royals, while Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham were moved to the Nationals. Kevin Gregg also was sent to the Cubs.
All four of those players are eligible for arbitration, and the price tag to retain them would have been around $13 million.
So any moves the Marlins make at the Meetings or before Spring Training will be, in the team's eyes, to upgrade the squad.
Florida has 11 players eligible for arbitration, and by Friday, the team has to decide if it will offer tenders to them.
"We'd be making necessary baseball trades that would make our team better," Samson said. "There are always rumors about trades that have to happen, but that's not the case. The economy is something that to me, personally, should concern everybody at these Meetings. If there are any agents out there who do not believe the economy is a factor in how teams do business, they are in for a major surprise."
The Marlins are considering some possible trades, like whether to deal Jorge Cantu, Jeremy Hermida and Matt Treanor.
If necessary, the team could sign all its arbitration-eligible players and be within budget.
"We're comfortable with the team," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "You'd like to upgrade any way that you can. That's why you come here, and you have discussions and you look around. Not only for the '09 team, but into the future, if something makes sense."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.