The lack of a power hitting first baseman is still considered the biggest offseason need of the Miami Marlins heading into 2019.
This shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone. The Miami Marlins need an everyday first baseman after trading Justin Bour after the MLB Trade Deadline last season. With no real power hitter in the lineup and a huge hole at one of the corners of the infield, it remains a position that must be filled in Spring Training or before the team heads to Jupiter, Florida in February.
After analyzing each MLB team’s biggest need this offseason, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com targeted the Marlins’ lack of a corner position player. There are names to consider already in the organization, but would this also be a situation where the front office does what it has not done in the past year and sign someone in free agency or make a deal for a potent bat?
"“Last summer’s trade of Justin Bour left the Marlins with no firm plan at first base for the short- or long-term, with Peter O’Brien and Garrett Cooper representing the current options. None of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Marlins prospects are first basemen, so Miami figures to target a stopgap at the position until they can either develop one or find one in a trade.”"
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I doubt the team can trade for a front-line first baseman without adding to its small payroll and keeping its top prospects in the minor leagues. The team is pitching heavy on all three levels of its farm system, but team owner Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill worked this past season to build up the minor league teams due to a lack of depth and talent in the past.
At the time of his departure, Bour led the team with 19 home runs (yes, you read that correctly). Catcher J.T. Realmuto led the team this season with 21 dingers and 74 RBI. There is no bat that scares opposing pitchers in the middle of the lineup.
There are options in free agency, but as the current state of the Marlins lineup, they are not all that imposing.
I still like the idea of O’Brien at first base as he showed some promise in his late-season call-up from Triple-A New Orleans. Derek Dietrich, the veteran infielder, and part-time outfielder could also see time there.
Cooper was the Marlins Opening Day right fielder but was injured almost all of the 2018 season.
Miami would love to get him back in the lineup and potentially in the middle of the batting order.