The Marlins did not tender an offer to Chris Coghlan before Monday's deadline. But that doesn't mean the Marlins have closed the book on the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year.
To the contrary.
"We're actually trying to re-sign Chris," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Wednesday in a conference call with beat writers.
For the Marlins, Hill said not tendering contracts to either Coghlan or Ryan Webb boiled down to a financial decision. According to projections by mlbtraderumors.com, Webb stood to earn $1.5 million through salary arbitration while Coghlan's figure was pegged at $800,000.
"As we looked at our allocation of dollars and roles that each would fill on our club, we thought it would better serve the organization to non-tender both, and to use their dollars elsewhere in helping us put the ballclub together," Hill said. "These are tough decisions, and as we looked at our roster and how we allocated our dollars, it was not an easy decision."
The Marlins would like to bring Coghlan back, in other words, but for less money than he figured to make through the arbitration process -- and perhaps not on a guaranteed, major league contract.
"His role, had he stayed on the roster, would have been as that extra player capacity," Hill said. "It would be a similar role if he were to re-sign with us. If not, be prepared to go to Triple A and be ready to help the club when that need arises."
Since the Marlins are still awaiting the results of a medical physical, the deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not yet official and Hill did not comment on the pending deal. The free agent catcher agreed Tuesday to a 3-year, $21 million deal with the Marlins.
"Anything going on? You hearing anything good? Anybody sign? Any big contracts?" Hill joked with reporters.
Hill said the team could have an announcement to make in the next day or so.
"There could be one (announcement)," Hill said. "I've been reading about some stuff out there. That could be coming to a head in the next day or so."
With the addition of Saltalamacchia, the Marlins might not have a lot of extra spending money with which to acquire more players. They are expected to spend $40-50 million on next season's payroll, and they are already up to $40 million with the signing of Saltalamacchia, who is due to make $6 million in 2014. (The contract calls for him to make $7 million in 2015 and $8 million in '16).
Keep in mind, the Marlins are still on the hook for $6 million they owe to Heath Bell. That money counts toward payroll, as it's coming out of their books. Throw in another $6 million or so for Giancarlo Stanton, as well as another $8 million million more for their other arbitration players, and the total number beings to approach the budget cap.
The Red Sox made Saltalamacchia a 2-year, $18 million offer with incentives, according to this report out of Boston. But the catcher rejected the deal, going instead with the Marlins' 3-year offer even though the average annual value is less than what he would have received from his former team.