What could be on agenda in October
MIAMI — I know we’ve just entered September, and there is still a month remaining in the season. But since the Marlins themselves have already started the evaluation process for 2016, the time is right to also look at what may be on the horizon, especially in October, in the early stages of the offseason.
Of course the Marlins are meeting on Thursday to determine how the front office will shape up. Will Dan Jennings smoothly transition back from manager to general manager? Will he be back under certain conditions, or reassigned, or simply move on to pursue options outside the organization?
Perhaps we’ll have those answers later today.
How the front office shapes up aside, there will be other key issues to follow in the offseason. Here’s some of the hot topics.
* Manager: Priority No. 1 will be the manager search. The Marlins are looking for someone with previous big league managing experience, and perhaps a high-profile name. The thought process is they’ve gone with an inexperienced voice in Mike Redmond, who made the leap from the Minor Leagues to the big leagues. Going with Jennings was an “outside the box” idea.
The next manager promises to be one with a track record. But the candidate also must buy into the organizational philosophy, which right now the Marlins don’t really have.
In the age where MLB front offices are having an increased say in not only roster construction, but who plays and bats where, having a manager in step with the GM is critical. Although the Jennings experiment didn’t produce the bottom line results the Marlins wanted, the concept of a general manager-thinking manager is something the industry is trending towards.
* Payroll: The Marlins have long been among the lowest payroll teams, and coming off a rough season, they didn’t get the attendance bounce they were expecting when they assembled what they thought was a roster that could contend.
If revenue streams stay as is, it is likely payroll will stay in the $60 million to $70 million range.
However, payroll could get a boost, perhaps a significant one, if the Marlins are able to reach a new local television deal with Fox Sports Florida. The contract runs through 2020, but it’s no secret the Marlins have been hoping to renegotiate.
There are rumblings talks have been ongoing. If so, at the end of the season, the Marlins may be looking at a TV deal that could resemble some similar-sized markets.
I don’t have this number completely confirmed, but it was my understanding that the Marlins this year received $17.5 million from their local TV deal. Other teams with relatively new deals receive $90 million or more a year.
We’ll see. To me, any hope of signing Jose Fernandez or an upper-tier free agent, the Marlins will need a new TV deal.
* Advanced metrics: The Marlins have long lagged far behind in adapting advanced metrics in their evaluations. Look for that to change. I expect to see the creation of a advanced metrics department.
* Fences: We’ve covered this topic before. The Marlins are open to moving in and lowering the fences. I think that will happen. Not significantly. My guess is you’ll see them move in the walls in center field to where the Marlins’ bullpen ends in right-center.
— Joe Frisaro