Busy time for Marlins, MO2 breaks down what it all means
The Marlins have a new TV partner, and are about to let fans back into the ballpark. Gio Gonzalez announces his retirement. Man On Second Baseball briefs you on what it all means.
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
Finalizing their regional television deal is the biggest news in a quite a while for the Marlins, because it clears up one of the biggest questions that has confronted the organization for years.
On Wednesday, Bally Sports Florida announced the multiyear agreement with the Marlins. All 162 regular season games will be televised on Bally Sports Florida, formerly Fox Sports Florida. The rebranding of the network is expected to be completed by Opening Day on April 1.
Additionally, in upcoming years, Man On Second Baseball learned that the plan is to increase the number of Spring Training games also televised, which is a change from how the club has traditionally been covered. This is big because spring introduces the team, new players and prospects to fans leading up to the regular season.
Teams like the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals have long televised most if not all of their home Spring Training games. The Marlins have traditionally televised about two each spring on FS Florida. Other Marlins games have been televised, but often with the other team’s broadcasters, or a split crew, with someone from the Marlins’ booth with an announcer from the other club. This often was done with the Cardinals, who share the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.
Such a telecast with the Cardinals aired recently on FS Florida.
What the TV deal means?
MO2 has heard the Marlins will make at least $50 million a season as part of the agreement with Bally.
Considering what had previously been negotiated, getting at least $50 million is a big increase. But that’s because the club was getting about $20 million or less.
The TV deal puts the Marlins on better financial footing to retain their players or sign free agents or take on salaries from players who might be acquired.
Still, Marlins fans need to temper their enthusiasm. Don’t expect Miami to become major free agent players, because this new TV deal doesn’t stack to the billion-dollar deals of the larger markets, like the Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees.
Bottom line, the Marlins will still have to spend wisely, and be diligent on the players they target for extensions.
With the TV deal now finalized, the additional revenue focus turns to the ballpark itself. If the Marlins can get a naming rights deal done — and soon — to couple with the TV revenue, they’ll be in even better position to have a sustainable payroll.
Previous ownership never was able to find a naming rights partner or partners. We’ll see how this saga plays out. Stay tuned.
It would be another big step if current ownership can seal a naming rights deal. Marlins Park opened in 2012, and has always gone by that name.
Having fans back, even a small percentage, in the stands at the start of 2021 also is another step to generating more revenue.
Who to sign?
As noted, the Marlins are better positioned to sign players already on their roster to extensions. Third baseman Brian Anderson is in his first year or arbitration, and ace Sandy Alcantara will reach arbitration in 2022. These two make the most sense to talk to about extensions.
If the Marlins had to pick one, industry sources tell MO2, their choice would be Alcantara. The hard-throwing right-hander is starting to reach his prime, and keeping the rotation intact should be a high priority.
Others add, they’d also look to lock up right-hander Pablo Lopez as well.
Anderson, a third baseman who is emerging as one of the best players at his position, also makes sense to retain long-term. He’s homegrown, and continues to improve. Perhaps a big 2021 could sway upper management to lock him up for the foreseeable future.
Better yet, why not look to sign all the above?
Gio Gonzalez is calling it a career after 13 big league seasons. The 35-year-old from Hialeah, Fla., signed as a non-roster invitee and struggled mightily in his lone Grapefruit League outing.
Gonzalez made his announcement on Instagram, thanking those who helped him along the way during his outstanding career. A two-time All-Star, the lefty paced the Majors in wins in 2012.
The Marlins were hoping Gonzalez would add rotation depth.
Gonzalez wanted one last chance to pitch for his hometown team.
“This was one of my biggest dreams to pitch in front of the home crowd, the whole city of Hialeah and all of Dade/Broward [counties],” Gonzalez said in his post. “I gave it one last fight.”
The player knows when it is time.
Even after his rough start, MO2 asked multiple evaluators how Gonzalez looked. Some said he was done, while others noted his line wasn’t as bad as it looked. His velocity was 88-91 mph, and he still showed signs with his curveball. At least one source said Gonzalez could have effectively faced left-handed batters as a reliever.
His retirement definitely impacts the Marlins because it removes a layer or starting pitching depth. It would make sense to find another veteran starter to open up in the minors and be available. Teams tend to go through 10-13 different starters a season.
It’s going to be a challenge to monitor innings for all the Marlins’ starting pitchers. Even if Gonzalez made 10 starts during the season, it would be a factor.
Nick Neidert is in position to see more time. The right-hander has been lined up with Sixth Sanchez, which could answer what the organization is thinking if Sixto is ready to be part of the Opening Day lineup.