Marlins left-handed starter Tony Saunders was the first selection in the 1997 expansion draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Left handed minor league reliever Mikue Duvall was taken in the second round by Tampa Bay. The Devil Rays also chose minor leaguer Randy Winn in the third round. No more Marlins can be taken in the draft. The loss of Saunders along with the injury to Fernandez and the potential trade of Brown and Leiter means that none of the Marlins starting rotation on opening day of 1997, will be around next year (Hernandez joined the team in mid-season).
Jim Leyland announced to day that he will manage the Marlins next year. Leyland stated that he wanted to give Don Smiley a chance to buy the club and get a new stadium. Leyland will evaluate the situation again at the end of next season. Should the Marlins get a new stadium, it is likely that payroll can be raised again and Leyland will stay.
The Marlins took the first step in reducing their payroll by trading team MVP Moises Alou to Houston for closer Oscar Henriquez and pitcher Manuel Barrios, and pitcher Mark Johnson. Both pitchers are right handed and 23 years old. The 31 year old Alou hit .292, slugged 23 HR, and drove in 115 RBI this year, leading the Marlins in HR and RBI. The Marlins reduced their payroll by $20 million over the next 4 years.
Marlins pitching coach Larry Rotschild has been named the first manager of the Tampa Bay Devil-Rays. He is replaced by Rich Dubee.
Wayne Huzinega has given a group headed by team president Don Smiley 30 days to complete the purchase of the team for $150 million. Smiley has confirmed that the payroll will be reduced, but insisted that once the Marlins receive a new stadium, the payroll may be adjusted. Simley has already had discussion with the city of Miami about a 45,000 seat retractable roof stadium next to American Airlines Arena (the new Heat arena, 2000). Still no discussions with the better candidate, Broward County. With the sale, the Marlins might be eligible to receive $60 million from the state for stadium improvements, money to be used for a new facility.