Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
According to MLB blogger Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are very interested in Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas. They have sent some scouts down to the Dominican Republic to watch the slugger workout.
Tomas was one of the top power hitters in Cuba and according to BaseballAmerica.com, has a 70 on the 20-80 raw power scale. Without getting into the new international free agency rules that MLB is implementing, trust me when I say that Tomas is going to get a big payday. The recent Cuban-born players have seen some significant contracts, and have largely been delivering on them as well.
The last three big signings of course include Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and the likely American League rookie of the year Jose Abreu, who maybe the best of the bunch. The Marlins have also participated in the recent boom of Cubans by drafting Miami ace Jose Fernandez. Seeing the success of all three of those position players may cause Jeffrey Loria to consider offering a big payday to a player who projects as a corner outfielder in the majors.
If Miami were to sign Tomas, it could provide them with some interesting scenarios in the field. There has already been some discussion among the Marlins front office about potentially moving Christian Yelich to first base and signing an outfielder since the free agent outfield market is deeper than the first base market. That could provide Tomas a spot in left field and inject some more power into the lineup to protect Stanton.
Another potential is to move Tomas to first base. I haven’t seen anything regarding his ability to play first base, but defensively he can’t be worse than Garrett Jones currently is, and I would like to keep Yelich’s speed and athleticism in left field if possible.
Of course, if Giancarlo Stanton is traded, Miami could shift Marcell Ozuna to right, Yelich to center, and Tomas could slot in left. Some may call for Stanton to move to first base, and I understand the mindset that injuries would be less frequent at first than patrolling the outfield. I personally wouldn’t make that move, just because of Stanton’s defensive ability in right field. He has a canon for an arm and shows excellent speed and generally takes solid lines to the ball. His talent would be wasted in the infield.
Loria has been trying to connect with the Cuban community in South Florida, and Tomas could be another player that could draw positive attention. Certainly Jose Fernandez has given them reason to believe that going to the Cuban league well again could be a great move. It will also be difficult to sign free agents without a no-trade clause moving forward, but Tomas may not be as interested in that since there is such a large Cuban community in Miami that he could be a part of.
Of course all of this is conjecture. I am excited about the prospect of Tomas, and am firmly in the camp that we should do anything we can, within reason, to sign him. I think he will provide a power bat in a lineup that is lacking. What do you think the Marlins should do? Use the comments below and let us know whether you think the Marlins should pursue Tomas or go after someone else in the offseason.