Buster’s Buzz: Marlins must move Realmuto before it’s too late

Buster’s Buzz: Marlins must move Realmuto before it’s too late

Buster Olney ESPN Senior Writer Close Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com Analyst/reporter ESPN television Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty” Follow on Twitter The Washington Nationals had some of the worst catching production in the big leagues last season, with players at that

J.T. Realmuto won’t sign extension with the Marlins

J.T. Realmuto won’t sign extension with the Marlins

One of the biggest storylines of the MLB’s offseason will have to do with Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto and where he will be playing next season. The Marlins expressed hope that they would be able to reach an agreement on an extension with Realmuto but his agent Jeff Berry has cast doubt on

Agent: Realmuto won’t sign long-term deal with Marlins

Agent: Realmuto won’t sign long-term deal with Marlins

The agent for catcher J.T. Realmuto says his client has informed the Miami Marlins he won’t sign a long-term contract, increasing the likelihood the team will trade yet another All-Star. The Marlins have said they’d like a lengthy deal with Realmuto, but they’re coming off their ninth consecutive

Marlins make minor trade that could help them land top Cuban prospects, including Victor Victor Mesa

Marlins make minor trade that could help them land top Cuban prospects, including Victor Victor Mesa

The Miami Marlins made a trade on Saturday. The deal didn’t make headlines for a couple reasons — the playoffs are ongoing; plus it was minor, sending right-hander Ryan Lillie to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for international bonus pool money — but it could lead to some.

According to various sources, including MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Marlins are interested in signing three Cuban prospects: outfielders Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr., and righty Sandy Gaston:

The trio worked out for teams Friday at Marlins Park, even facing Miami’s minor-league talent in simulated settings. Granted, other teams were in attendance, so there’s no need to read too far into the setting and circumstances, but the Marlins’ interest appears genuine.

Miami should have a real shot at landing at least one of the three, too. With more than $4.3 million in signing pool money, the Marlins can be outbid only by the Baltimore Orioles (who have nearly $2 million more to offer). Just one other team, the Tampa Bay Rays, has more more than $3 million available for their bidding.

Mesa is considered the top international prospect by MLB.com. He’s 22 and projects to have a plus arm and plus speed, with the chance to be an average hitter who stays in center field. Mesa Jr. is unranked, but has youth and bloodlines on his side. The pair’s father, Victor Mesa Sr., is a legend in Cuban baseball, having played nearly two decades and managed since.

Gaston, by the way, checks in at No. 16 on MLB.com’s list. The 16-year-old is on the small side, but boasts near-elite arm strength. 

Miami Marlins: Jose Urena making team's decision difficult

Miami Marlins: Jose Urena making team's decision difficult

Dodgers Clinch; Wait For Word on Where the Postseason Will Begin by Sarah Maninger

After very publicly taking on the Atlanta Braves and their top rookie, the Miami Marlins had a seemingly easy offseason decision coming with Jose Urena. His performance since could make that decision more difficult.

The Miami Marlins were seemingly as outraged by Jose Urena‘s actions when he threw hard inside on Ronald Acuna on August 15th as the rest of baseball was. His own manager Don Mattingly didn’t lend much support, and Marlins management seemed to drop some hints that Urena may not be long for the Marlins roster.

While the Marlins massaged Urena’s suspension in order to have Urena miss facing the Braves in their last matchup of the season, his pitching since that day has been absolutely lights out.

In seven starts since the Braves game, Urena has tossed 45 innings with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He’s not striking out a ton of hitters, living more with weak contact than truly dominating hitters, but whatever it is, it’s been working for him, and not just for one game – for 7 starts and 45 innings. Most importantly, the Miami Marlins have gone 6-1 in the 7 starts while Urena has gone 6-0.

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After four seasons with the Miami Marlins, Jose Urena will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason. Urena spent 2015 and 2016 bouncing between the majors and minors, amassing a total of 145 1/3 innings.

The 2017 season was Urena’s “breakout” season, as he went 14-7 over 34 games, 28 of them starts. He tossed 169 2/3 innings, with a 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 64/113 BB/K ratio. With his final push, Urena will finish 2018 with a 9-12 record over 31 starts and 174 innings, posting a 3.98 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 51/130 BB/K ratio.

After his issue with Acuna, Urena seemed a certain non-tender candidate this winter. Now, with a likely $2 million or less salary for Urena in his first arbitration year, the Miami Marlins may have a tougher decision.

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The best solution for the Miami Marlins may be finding a trade partner looking for a back-end starter for a low price. Many scouts have believed that Urena could be a very impressive reliever if put into that role full-time, so perhaps moving to another organization could have his role moved as well. Regardless, his finish to the 2018 season has given the Marlins something to think about with Jose Urena.