Opening Day 2021 is less than a week away – perfect time to look at what big name free agents the Miami Marlins might sign in 2022.
Once again, no one is picking the Miami Marlins as contenders in 2021. But 2022?
That’s a different story.
This means that as Opening Day 2021 is drawing near, some attention is already being paid to 2022 free agency. MLB Network recently infuriated Cubs fans and teased the rest of the league when they pegged the Marlins as a solid fit for two of the biggest names that will hit the market next winter.
It’s been awhile since the Miami Marlins were big players in free agency, as buyers at any rate. The last four years of the Loria regime typically featured one misguided moment of offseason largesse- Brad Ziegler, Wei-Yin Chen, Mike Morse, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (which I can still spell without looking up)- but never a full court press for big name talent. You can make a case for 2015, but you really have to go back to 2012 to find the last time it felt like the Marlins were at least a dark horse for the top free agents. Not just names to fill holes, but names that would send jersey sales skyrocketing overnight.
Between a quiver-full of talented and controllable young pitchers, and an anticipated new media contract that could pay double the amount of their previous league-worst deal, there’s every reason to believe the 2022 offseason could see that all change. Both Miami’s current payroll, and payroll commitments heading into 2022, are among the lowest in the league- despite having just won a playoff series in 2020. In many ways, they are better poised than any other team with an eye on competing next season to aggressively attack free agency to bolster their roster.
Of course, two big factors that could change all that loom on the horizon. Factors the Miami Marlins have nearly zero control over. How revenues fare for all of MLB in another season of Covid, and how the forthcoming CBA negotiations play out, will go a long way to determining how much money teams will be able to shell out next season.
However, for our purposes here, let’s assume that it is full steam ahead for MLB in 2022. A season in which, provided Miami’s young talent builds on last year’s progress, the Marlins will be loaded for bear when free agency opens.
Who will Miami target? In alphabetical order, I present the five best big name free agent fits.