Will the Miami Marlins look to add a closer this offseason given the troubles the organization has had by filling the role with multiple players?
It may be the biggest question the Miami Marlins must answer this offseason and their biggest hole to fill on their roster. Given that there have been multiple closers inserted into that role and there has been little return of success, will this organization go out and find someone this offseason to nail down the job permanently? Is the closer role to be won early in Spring Training?
Or, if recent history dictates with this franchise, the Marlins will seek help from a roster player or one of their minor league prospects?
"“Obviously, the struggles the Marlins have had in the ninth inning makes this a legitimate question,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes. “But pursuing a high-priced free-agent closer isn’t something you normally see from teams in a building process. I anticipate the team will look from within, or perhaps make a trade that could include a candidate to close.”"
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The Marlins have tried their best in the past to add an All-Star arm at the backend of the bullpen in the past, but Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen declined offers to come to south Florida two seasons ago.
While the rotation has been riddled with injuries, the need for a steady closer has been just as much of an issue.
Brad Ziegler assumed the role but was replaced by Kyle Barraclough. Barraclough looked like a world-beater, then fell on hard times and lost the role himself. Manager Don Mattingly has used multiple pitchers since Barraclough’s meltdown on the mound and hasn’t settled on one arm he feels comfortable with.
The committee approach hasn’t worked, either. It’s one of those clusters that must be addressed once the season ends. Since the front office was not willing to spend money prior to the 2018 season, how will they budget for a closer if they feel the need to go out and find one in free agency or via trade?
Frisaro offers up this explanation as to why the team cannot settle on one player or find consistency in a ninth-inning specialist. Youth plays a bit role in determining if someone fits the specialized role.
"“As disappointing as [Kyle] Barraclough has been, you can’t dismiss that he was really good in the first half. Rookie Drew Steckenrider has gotten a taste of closing, and left-hander Adam Conley is adjusting to being in the bullpen,” he adds.“Tayron Guerrero is one of the hardest-throwing relievers in the game, but he’s also a rookie. Guerrero is going to need a secondary pitch to give hitters something else to look for, perhaps a changeup could be the answer. Also remember, the current group of relievers are either rookies or they’re about to enter their first season of arbitration. So they’re still young.”"
Hopefully, a year of experience under their belts will help make 2019 a bit smoother. The Marlins have other needs as well with the lack of power in the lineup and decisions to be made about veteran starters.
The closer’s role is the most pressing need to resolve, but it might be a matter of letting things play out during Spring Training.