I know, I know, we already have a right fielder. Giancarlo Stanton is, without a doubt, the starting right fielder for the Marlins as long as he puts on the black and orange, but bear with me for a moment. Let’s look at what we currently know about Stanton. First, he obliterates baseballs when he hits them, but he occasionally has a problem making contact with them. Second, he has been very unhappy with the Marlins ownership, even taking to Twitter to air his frustrations. Third, Miami has not been able to secure a long-term contract with the slugger.
Knowing this, it may benefit the Marlins to actually explore a trade involving Stanton. They have outfield depth and need some quality infielders. Stanton would certainly fetch the best return, and if the Marlins are going to lose him in two years anyway, then it might not be a bad idea.
For the purpose of this post, I am going to imagine that we have some significant offers for Stanton and we are looking at the possibility of bringing in a free agent right fielder to replace him. Here we go.
Beltran is one of the better hitters to hit the free agent market this year. He is a virtual lock for 20 home runs and, as long as he stays healthy should provide a decent return in the WAR statistic. He has struggled with injuries in the past, but not as bad as you would think, playing in more than 140 games the last 3 years. Steamer projects a slash line of 277/.344/.473, which should be noted as significantly lower than what he produced this past year.
As good as he has been with the bat, Beltran’s defense is pretty much the exact opposite. He has lost range and pretty much bleeds runs from right field. Even so, Beltran is still a hot commodity this off-season. Beltran will be 37 years-old next season, and I believe that will prevent him from getting a 3 year contract. Look for Beltran to get a 2 year contract in the 25 million dollar range.
I don’t believe that Beltran will be a target for the Marlins even if they have an opening in right field. The Marlins have made it clear that they are placing a premium on defense, particularly in the massive Marlins Park. Beltran no longer has the mobility to be a viable option in Miami.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 2/10
Since coming over from Korea, Choo has established himself as a competent lead-off hitter. He provides a high OBP, to go along with a decent average. He is a walk machine and is capable of hitting 20 home runs in a season. He is a threat on the basepaths with 20 steals last year. He is only 31 years old and should provide more than a few plus seasons over the next few years.
All this doesn’t mean that Choo comes without some concerns. He struggles against left-handed pitching, to the point where a manager may have to play him in a platoon situation at some point in the future. His defense has also been well-below average. He doesn’t have great speed in the field and I question some of the lines that he takes towards the baseball.
Nevertheless, Choo is durable and can hit leadoff, two difficult things to combine, as Jacoby Ellsbury can attest to. While the Marlins could use a true lead-off hitter, Choo will almost certainly be out of their price range. He has little chance of returning to the Reds and I believe he will get a 5 year contract in the 105 million dollar range. Look for one of the big market teams to sign him.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10
Cruz is an interesting free agent option for a lot of teams. On one hand, he is a right-handed power hitter which are hard to come by. On the other, he is coming off of a 50 game suspension which well certainly hurt his value.
The 33 year-old is a solid hitter. He provides average statistics hitting but his real value comes from his power. He produced a .240 ISO with 27 home runs last year in only 109 games. Steamer projects him to hit 24 home runs next year with a dip in average.
Cruz does have some downside. He is an atrocious outfield defender, due mainly to his loss of speed as he has aged. He is probably best off as a DH and part time outfielder. He also has struggled with injuries throughout his career. I would be surprised to see him play more than 130 games next year.
I don’t see a fit for the Marlins here at all. The Marlins don’t want slow, aging outfielders, even if they do provide some pop with the bat. I believe that Cruz will ultimately resign with the Rangers, likely as a DH. Look for him to receive a 3 or 4 year deal worth around 40 million. Don’t expect Cruz to wear a Marlins jersey next year though.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10
Here is the complete list of right field free agents from MLB trade rumors:
Who do you think is the top free agent in right field? Do you see any possible fits for Miami? Let us know in the comments below and make sure you download the Fansided app on the right hand side of the page and select Marlin Maniac to stay up to date with all the latest Marlin news when it happens.