Ahead of Kansas City Royals free agency, let’s take a look at the Miami Marlins’ upcoming free agents and decide whether the team should pursue any.
Miami was neck and neck with the Kansas City Royals for a high draft pick and edged them out with 105 losses, good enough for the third pick in 2020 MLB Amateur Draft. The Marlins have not had a winning season since 2009 when they were known as the Florida Marlins.
The providers over at Spotrac have a list of players that are no longer bound to the Marlins. We will see if there are any free agents that could be a boost to the Royals.
Martin Prado, 3B:
Prado’s best years were with the Atlanta Braves from 2009-2013. He did produce some quality years in Miami prior to 2017 but has battled leg injuries the last two seasons. If the Kansas City Royals are truly committed to playing Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn at the hot spots there is not a big need for Prado. At 35 years old, he could offer a veteran presence on the bench and a fill-in start if needed. Overall though, not a huge need for his waning talent plus his salary requests may be too high.
Starlin Castro, 2B:
The Marlins recently declined Castro’s $16 million dollar option making him a free agent. He does have quite a pedigree playing in four All-Star Games and finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs.
He did play in all 162 games this year belting 22 homers and an OPS of .736. The majority of his games were at second and third with just a couple of starts at shortstop. Just like Prado, the Royals youth movement should have Castro blocked due to Nicky Lopez and Adalberto Mondesi manning the middle infield (plus Whit Merrifield at second as well). At only 29 years old, it is tough to see Castro agreeing to a backup role and his salary could fetch $10 million or more and with other pressing needs, I do not see him as a good fit for Kansas City.
Neil Walker, 1B/3B:
Primarily a second baseman during is solid years the first part of the decade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Walker played the bulk of his games at either corner infield position. His power is not what it used to be but he still registered a decent .344 OBP in 381 plate appearances. At age 34 it is easy to see him slipping into a backup role and after only making $2 million this past season he could be a nice occasional starter with the right pitching matchup and bat off the bench.
Verdict: Pursue (for a backup role)
Curtis Granderson, OF:
After watching Granderson terrorize the Kansas City Royals for years with the Detroit Tigers and then pound the ball for the two New York teams, his production has fallen off the last few years. The soon-to-be 39-year-old hit below the Mendoza line even though he still managed to hit 12 home runs. His OPS+ and WAR were both below league average and his days of being an effective outfielder are over. With the DH slot solidified by Jorge Soler, there is no room on the Royals roster for Granderson.
Bryan Holaday, C:
Never a full-fledged starting backstop in his big league career, Holaday made the most of his limited time with a slash of .278/.344/.435 in 155 at-bats. He only committed one error behind the plate and while throwing out twenty percent of would-be base stealers was not great, in 2018 he did that forty-five percent of the time so the ability is there. With Salvador Perez needing more days off from catching to stay healthy, Holaday could be a reasonable backup for a year or two while we wait for a young Kansas City Royals catcher to take the position by storm.
Wilkin Castillo, C:
Talk about perseverance…Castillo had not sniffed a major league game since 2009 with the Cincinnati Reds. Miami called him for a couple of games in June and what a story it was. However, he did not come back up after that brief cup of coffee. No need to try to and see this Cinderella story through.
Peter O’Brien, OF:
O’Brien continues his career of crushing minor league pitching but not being able to stick around at the big league level. He was with the Kansas City Royals organization for a very brief stint in 2017 and ended up with three other clubs that year. At the age of 28, you would think if there was potential in that bat at the MLB level he would have been given more of a chance than he has. Not sure there is anything for the Royals to rediscover here.
There are a couple of other position players, Isaac Galloway and Yadiel Rivera who have had brief stints in the big leagues but nothing of note and not worth Kansas City exploring. Interestingly, no pitchers are on the list of Miami free agents to look at.
Much like the Kansas City Royals, the Marlins have struggled the last few years and do not have any sexy free agents to give serious thought to. There are, however, a couple of players who could take on back up roles that could be beneficial.