The Miami Marlins have done a great job of pinpointing outfield prospects to groom for the future. Is it possible there are too many within the organization?
When the Miami Marlins made a splash this offseason by announcing the signings of Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr, team CEO Derek Jeter let it be known the fledgling ball club was in the market to find the best players to build this organization for the future.
The Marlins had done little to add international players in recent years. The signing of both outfielders was a coup for the team in South Florida, a community that will embrace the Cuban stars and hopefully in turn, they will help make the Marlins a winning team in the future.
That future is somewhere down the line and as Jeter, Michael Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations and the front office continue to see young multi-talented outfielders, the growing question might have to be asked.
Are there too many outfield prospects in the minor league system? To take that one step further, are the Marlins asking for more outfield prospects in a trade for J.T. Realmuto when the 25-man roster has other holes it must fill before the organization heads to Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida?
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"“When Spring Training opens in mid-February, center fielder Lewis Brinson is regarded as the only true front-runner, but even his status could be in jeopardy if he struggles,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.“The field could be complicated even more is if Miami makes a trade before camp opens or signs a free agent.”"
With the team’s willingness to trade J.T. Realmuto at his request, the message has been clear Miami wants young, talented players with controllable contracts. When looking at the frontrunning teams – Atlanta, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston, Hill, and Jeter have made it a point to ask for their top outfield prospects or players on the MLB roster that will help the Marlins win in the future.
If Brinson is the lone guaranteed starter this season, then manager Don Mattingly and his coaching staff have some decisions to make. The question about too many outfield prospects has been one I have explored before, but a question in Frisaro’s “InBox” segment last week reopened the door for examination.
The Marlins want hitters and need to find a balance in their batting order. They also have a need for depth on the bench and an opening at first base. With Realmuto’s price tag, getting the most value at the least expense is crucial to a deal being worked out.
"“You want the most impactful players as possible in the deal, and you can never have enough depth, even at the same position. More than an outfielder, the Marlins need power,” Frisaro explained.“They are predominantly right-handed heavy, so left-handed power is in demand. If Miami can get an elite talent, like left-handed-hitting outfielder Kyle Tucker of the Astros, then you do so.“Secondly, not all of the outfielders in the system will develop at the same time. And not all will pan out. If you have a surplus of outfielders, you can also trade to address other areas of the roster.”"
Miami has addressed the need in their most recent draft class with solid propsects up the middle of the diamond. They will take a few seasons to develop but could be on the roster in 2020 or 2021. Monte Harrison could be on the roster by the end of the season. The Mesas don’t have a timetable on their arrival.
The Major League competition is tight and varied. As of now, there are nin possible candidates on the roster and the team still may add a veteran bat in free agency for competition.
It should be a hotly contested Spring with two positions to fill and possibly two bench seats to be added.