The main focus during the Baseball Winter Meetings may have been on J.T. Realmuto, but the Miami Marlins are still in search of hitters for next season.
Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill was candid when he expressed the team’s desire to focus on acquiring more hitters this offseason rather than turning the organization’s full attention toward pitching prospects.
The Marlins need help at the plate, in scoring runs, in driving players in and adding power in the middle of their weak lineup. There are some players on the current roster who could take a giant step forward in 2019 — whether it is through the minor league system, recovering from injury or trying to improve on a subpar 2018.
Miami figures to remain one of the lowest scoring teams in Major League Baseball next season, but bringing in a bat or two could close the gap between the Marlins and the 29 other franchises.
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First base is the obvious direction the team would like to add a loaded bat, but a decision has not been made yet which direction that will come from. There are two free agents who could be in the team’s radar. Carlos Santana would be a solid fit and give the team some pop. Matt Adams is a gritty player who may not have the power that Santana possesses but could be a double-digit home run hitter.
Santana also has the flexibility to play third base as well.
Internally, manager Don Mattingly will have Garrett Cooper and Peter O’Brien to look at for the first base job. Both could provide power from the middle of the order. Those are just the beginning of Miami’s problems to solve with the roster.
Frisaro reported this week that the team cleared space on its 40-man roster by outrighting infielder Yadiel Rivera and right-hander Brett Graves to Triple-A New Orleans. It is assumed the team did this to make room for possible additions from the Rule-5 Draft this week.
It may also be another way the organization can add more hitters who could impact the Major League roster.
Outfielder Lewis Brinson has 30-home run potential, but he was stuck in a slump for the majority of the season and spent time on the disabled list with a hip injury. Brian Anderson could be a 20-25 home run threat from the hot corner or in right field.
The team will also have to solve the issue of losing J.T. Realmuto, who was the team’s best hitter in 2019.
Even with the “flexibility” Frisaro talked about, it does not mean Miami will make an offer to big-name free agents like Manny Machado, whose ties to South Florida would be a welcomed addition if the franchise could afford him.
The Marlins still do not know what they have in outfielders Victor Mesa, who they signed this offseason and Monte Harrison, who figures to still be at least a late-season call-up away from making some impact with the parent club.