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Report: Marlins hiring Rays GM Bendix to lead front office

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MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins have hired Peter Bendix as their new president of baseball operations, a job that convinced him to leave the Tampa Bay Rays after 15 seasons.

Bendix had most recently been the Rays' senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. He and the Marlins struck the deal over the weekend, and Miami formally announced it Monday.

“Peter has a great reputation within baseball and is committed to achieving sustained excellence in all areas of baseball operations,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said in remarks distributed by the club. “I am looking forward to working alongside Peter to bring the Marlins back to the playoffs.”

The Marlins announced Bendix's hiring one day before the start of baseball's annual general managers' meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The team had on-field business on Monday, as well. The Marlins declined options on right-handers Johnny Cueto ($10.5 million) and Matt Barnes ($9 million), allowing the pair to become free agents. Cueto gets a $2.5 million buyout and Barnes $2.75 million.

Infielder Josh Bell did not opt out of his contract to go free and will make $16.5 million in 2024. The 31-year-old batted .247 with 22 homers and 75 RBIs for Cleveland and the Marlins, who acquired him on Aug. 1.

Miami exercised a $3,625,000 option on infielder Jon Berti, who would have been owed a $25,000 buyout and eligible for salary arbitration if the option had been declined. Berti hit .258 with seven homers, 33 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

Bendix will take over the department previously overseen by Kim Ng, who had been general manager of the Marlins for the last three seasons. Ng elected to leave the team last month after she and Marlins owner Bruce Sherman evidently could not agree on the structure of the department going forward; the Marlins had exercised a contract option to keep Ng in 2024, but Ng declined.

“Peter is an established industry leader with an extensive skillset and deep experience that will continue the momentum we have made on the Major League level, while also strategically building the foundation for sustained success through player acquisition, development, and scouting at all levels," Sherman said.

Bendix spent 15 seasons with the Rays, starting as an intern and getting promoted to senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager in December 2021.

The 38-year-old Bendix moved up the Rays’ ladder briskly: after his time as an intern, he became assistant of baseball operations, coordinator of baseball research and development, and director of baseball development — eventually becoming vice president of that department before getting promoted to the GM role.

"I would like to thank Bruce for his confidence in entrusting me with such an important role,” Bendix said.

Bendix has been part of a team that won consistently, something the Marlins haven't been able to do. Tampa Bay has made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons — it lost a wild-card series this year to eventual World Series champion Texas — and have baseball’s fourth-best regular-season record over that span, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston and Atlanta.

The Rays did all that with a payroll that consistently ranks in the bottom third on the 30-team MLB list, with many teams spending $100 million more — sometimes much more — than Tampa Bay does on players each year.

He’ll be asked to do much of the same in Miami, another team that isn't among the big-spenders but that made the wild-card round of this year’s playoffs. The Marlins lost that series to Philadelphia.

The Marlins have batting champion Luis Arraez coming back next season but will be without ace right-hander Sandy Alcantara, who will miss 2024 because of surgery on his elbow.