The Marlins finished 77-85 this season, one year after losing 100 games. They were not eliminated from playoff contention until Sept. 20.
“We made progress,’’ said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. “But we still need to get better if we’re going to be one of the 10 [teams that play in the postseason].’’
Stanton, 24, made his second career All Star Game and finished the season batting .288 with 37 home runs and 105 RBI, despite missing the final two weeks of the season after being hit in the face by a pitch.
The Marlins said they will try to negotiate a contract with Stanton this offseason, but they will go to arbitration if necessary to keep him. If the two sides do not come to an agreement, Stanton could make as much as $13 million via arbitration.
“He’s on this team [in 2015] either way,’’ said Marlins president David Samson. “I can’t wait until after the season to sit down with Giancarlo and [agent] Joel Wolfe and talk about contract. We’re ready. We want him to be a Marlin well past his arbitration years."
The earliest Stanton will be eligible for free agency will be after the 2016 season.
The Marlins have several other promising young players on the roster. Pitcher Jose Fernandez, an All Star in 2013, went 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA and 70 strikeouts before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. He is expected to return at some point during the 2015 season. Outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich played strong defense and were two of the team's better offensive players.
- Paul Palladino