Jul 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich (21) watches a three-run home run hit by Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (not pictured) go over the outfield wall during the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins have been unusually active this winter. At somewhat of a crossroads for owner Jeffery Loria, the team needed to do something in order to entice franchise player Giancarlo Stanton to sign on the dotted line for the biggest extension in baseball history.
So far, the Marlins have held up their end of the bargain, signing Mike Morse and landing Martin Prado, Dan Haren, Dee Gordon, David Phelps, and Mat Latos in assorted trades already this offseason. Needless to say, the team has decided that the strides it made in 2014 should become the stepping stone to an even brighter 2015 season.
Yet as we sit here at the turn of the year, and just a hop and a skip away from the beginning of Spring Training, the Marlins still have some unfinished business to attend to, and no, I’m not talking about the elephant in the room which is whether Haren will pitch for the Marlins this season. Rather, I’m talking about the team’s need for a fourth outfielder.
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By most measuring sticks, the Marlins will expect to have one of the best outfields in the game in 2015, a topic previously discussed here by Travis Honeycutt. With that in mind, the role of fourth outfielder will be a strictly complimentary one, used on occasion to rest the likes of Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Stanton. However, the at bats will be few and far between unless an injury arises and will be mostly relegated to sparse usage and pinch-hitting appearances.
Still, flexibility could play a decent role into the Marlins decision process here, and there are still a few viable (and inexpensive) options available to Miami at this stage of the winter. We decided to focus on five targets in particular that could provide some of the aforementioned flexibility to Miami and who would ideally fit into the team’s budgetary constraints.