Top signing: 3B Alberto Sanchez, Dominican Republic, $85,000.
Six-figure signings: None.
The Marlins have consistently been one of the most frugal teams in the international market, but it looked like things were going to change last year. On the major league side, the Marlins made splashy offseason moves, signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell as free agents. They also made a run at Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who ultimately ended up in Oakland.
Then as July 2 approached, the Marlins seemed like they were going to become bigger players in Latin America. Some thought the Marlins were going to make a run at signing Dominican shortstop Richard Urena, who flew into Miami for a private workout over Memorial Day weekend in May.
By July 2, the Marlins were 38-40, seven and a half games back in the National League East. Not only did the Marlins not sign Urena (he went to Toronto for $725,000), they didn’t sign any player for more than $100,000 last year. The source of their silence in Latin America became more obvious after the season, when ownership gutted the major league team.
After finishing with the sixth-worst record in the majors last year, the Marlins will have one of the biggest international bonus pools for the 2013-14 international signing period that begins on July 2. Yet given ownership’s reluctance to invest in the international market, other teams are already targeting the Marlins as a potential trade suitor for extra pool space. For an ownership group that relies on players in their pre-free agency years at the major league level, having a competitive budget to sign international prospects would seem to be an obvious strategy for a relatively minor investment.