With high-priority target Mike Napoli off the market and headed to Cleveland, the Miami Marlins are still searching for options at first base. With uncertainty surrounding Justin Bour, the Marlins are searching for potentially a player to platoon with Bour next season.
With Napoli, Mark Reynolds, and prospect Byung Ho-Park off the market, there is very little value left in a free agent class without many fine first baseman. The remaining selections includes Steve Pearce, Justin Morneau, Pedro Alvarez, Corey Hart, Chris Davis and Chris Carter.
After you effectively rule out the pricey Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez, there are only a few viable options left for the Marlins if they want to add a free agent first baseman to their roster.
The first one, Justin Morneau was once considered a superstar during his days with the Minnesota Twins but has declined quite a bit in recent years. The biggest factor in the fall of Morneau is injuries, he only appeared in 49 games for Colorado last year and overtime they have derailed his once promising career. He could be a nice signing for the Marlins, boasting vast experience and he has showed promise in recent years. 2014 was one of Morneau’s best albeit quiet seasons. Morneau took home the batting title and received several MVP votes.
Corey Hart is another viable option for the Marlins. After years of being a solid first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers, 2014 and 2015 were defined by injuries and struggles. Hart saw time in the minor leagues with with post the Pirates and Mariners to pair with horribly inconsistent play while he was in the majors. Hart, at one point a four-win player has been below replacement level the last two seasons. That being said, he will come cheap if the Marlins do pursue him, cheaper than Morneau or Steve Pearce. If Hart could turn things around he could be a valuable asset for the Fish going forward.
Finally there’s Steve Pearce, the do everything utility man for the Baltimore Orioles. After a solid 2014 filling in for a struggle Chris Davis (who also served a suspension at the end of 2014) Pearce showed he could play. He did well in his limited opportunists in 2015 but could not recapture the promise he showed in 2014. His versatility could end up being an essential asset for the Marlins if they do make a push to get him.
Hopefully the Marlins will decide to sign a solid first baseman, or maybe they’ll decide Justin Bour is their guy after all. Maybe recently acquired Xavier Scruggs could break into the lineup and make some noise. All in all, Morneau, Pearce, and Hart all present valid directions in which the Marlins could go.