Perhaps the prospects acquired in this Marlins fire sale will be the core of a playoff contender in 2020. That’s the best Marlins fans can hope for after another payroll slash. But it didn’t necessarily need to be this way. Miami businessman Jorge Mas conveyed to me this month that if his Marlins offer had been accepted, he would have had a $130 million payroll in 2018, retained Giancarlo Stanton and hired a new general manager. Instead, the Marlins intend to have a payroll of $90 million or less – a drop from $115 million last season and much lower than the $140 million it would have taken to keep the 2017 team together. Mas bid slightly more than $1 billion for the team, less than the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter $1.2 billion bid. That extra $200 million could have been used toward payroll if the Jeter group hadn’t overpaid, with the Marlins convincing Jeter and Sherman they wouldn’t get the team for any less. Even a Marlins official privately concedes Jeter and Sherman probably overpaid by $400 million, but credit Jeffrey Loria and David Samson for cajoling Sherman/Jeter to pay that much.