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Marlins’ ace addresses team payroll issue. And Mattingly’s departing advice to Jazz

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 11/15/2022 Barry Jackson, Miami Herald
Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly embraces pitcher Sandy Alcantara after the Marlins defeated the Braves 12-9 during his final MLB game at loanDepot park in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida, on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. © Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly embraces pitcher Sandy Alcantara after the Marlins defeated the Braves 12-9 during his final MLB game at loanDepot park in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida, on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

A six-pack of Miami Marlins notes on a Tuesday:

▪ It’s a good thing that the Marlins’ best player, Sandy Alcantara, has no desire to force his way to a team with the financial resources to be competitive.

Alcantara said he isn’t discouraged by the fact that the Marlins’ $80 million payroll was between $55 million and $186 million below every other National League East team’s payroll in 2022. There’s no indication that the payroll will rise substantially this winter.

“It doesn’t matter how much money the team is paying,” Alcantara said. “We know we can win. We know the talent we have. We have a lot of talent here. We can put a Cy Young [contender] on the field.”

That Cy Young contender would be him, of course.

What encourages Alcantara about the team’s future?

“I think that’s amazing to have [Pablo] Lopez behind me, [Jesus] Luzardo, [Edward] Cabrera. If I do bad, I know they can do good.”

The Marlins are fortunate that their best player is accepting of the team’s financial predicament.

That wasn’t the case with Christian Yelich, who wanted out after the Marlins dealt Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna in the months after Bruce Sherman bought the team.

Under terms of his contract extension signed last winter, Alcantara earned $3.5 million this past season and will make $6 million in 2023, $9 million in 2024, $17 million in 2025, $17 million in 2026, with a $21 million team option in 2027.

▪ Will Alcantara be disappointed if he doesn’t win the National League Cy Young?

“I’m good” regardless, he said. “If I win, I’m happy. If I lose, the same.”

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

▪ With Skip Schumaker replacing Don Mattingly as manager, here’s Mattingly’s advice for Jazz Chisholm: “Build his routines. The guys that play everyday, they build good routines where it gives them the best chance to stay healthy.

“Jazz is a guy that hits the ground a lot. He’s diving, he’s running. He does a lot of things on the field. Those guys are more susceptible to injury. [Also], I would like to see him continue to grow in the consistency of his work. The talent, in a sense, is off the charts. He’s naturally gifted.

“Those guys, if they’ll get consistent with their work, and stay on it every day, it’s kind of hard for them. He has a chance to really grow and grow faster.”

▪ The Marlins will at least listen to offers on any of their starting pitchers, except Alcantara and Eury Perez.

The view here is that it would be a mistake to trade Edward Cabrera, despite his history of nagging injuries.

“He’s got as much talent as any young pitcher in the game,” catcher Jacob Stallings told me. “He throws five different pitches and they’re all good pitches to get guys out. What he [did in 2022] is really impressive. If we keep them on the field, our rotation can be one of the best in the league for sure.”

The reason for Cabrera’s improvement from his first year in the big leagues (5.81 ERA in seven starts) to this past season (3.01 ERA in 14 starts)?

“What has changed is the sequence of the pitches and how I use them,” Cabrera said. “Some of the sequence has been different. There were a couple of hanging pitches last year and the location has been better.”

He said some opposing hitters have praised his change-up: “It’s very fast and moves a lot.”

▪ Brian Anderson, who batted just .222 in 98 games, is a trade candidate or non-tender candidate.

At 29, the career .256 hitter might benefit from a fresh start.

“Those are things I can’t think about,” he said of potentially moving to another team. “I need to be healthy and play 162 games to be a productive player.”

Though he started his big league career at third base - and plays well defensively anywhere - he said late in the season: “I’m definitely more comfortable in the outfield now.” But he said he’s still willing to play anywhere.

▪ Besides Luzardo, here’s one person who deserves credit for Luzardo’s excellent season (3.32 ERA in 18 starts): former big league pitcher Juan Rincon.

“He gave me tips” last winter, Luzardo said. “Mechanical tweaks and helped me mentally, about the right mindset to have. I give him a lot of credit.”

They got to know each other a few years ago when Rincon would work out at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, which is Luzardo’s alma mater.

Luzardo also said Stallings “was amazing” during Luzardo’s starts with Stallings behind the plate.

The Luzardo/Starling Marte deal, which looked awful initially, has now worked out well for Miami, considering Marte was months from free agency when he was traded.

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