Now that the Miami Marlins have added veteran Neil Walker to their roster, will the team look to sign other veterans before the start of Spring Training?
When the Marlins front office looks back on the 2019 offseason, it might say the signing of Neil Walker may be the biggest move the team made to improve the ball club. The veteran will provide a steady bat in the lineup, add some power which is sorely lacking and should be a positive influence in the clubhouse.
"“Walker reportedly signed for $2 million, and he’s being asked to provide leadership and production on a largely inexperienced team,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote."
In other words, the team from South Florida may have just gotten a steal. But the signing of Walker could lead to other things, mainly the Marlins looking to bring in other veterans to give this team a push where it is needed.
Will Michael Hill, president of baseball operations for the franchise, finalyl grab a veteran reliever to help a young bullpen or potentially find a low-cost lefty starter to help if available?
With one signing, a domino effect may take place for Miami, one which could mean a jump from 63 wins in 2018.
Frisaro was asked of the Walker signing will impact the play of Starlin Castro, leading to his eventual trade? While it may not happen in Spring Training, it’s a good bet Castro is on his way out of Miami, presumably at the MLB Trade Deadline.
Walker is one of those versatile players who will help fill needs when asked.
"“Nothing really changes for Castro, at least for the first half of 2019. The four-time All-Star is expected to be the Marlins’ everyday second baseman,” Frisaro added. “But Walker is there to fill in if Castro needs a day off. I anticipate Walker will play a lot at first base, as well as getting some time at second base and third when necessary. Walker also can fill in at either outfield corner spot.”"
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If anything, the move to bring in Walker affects Garrett Cooper more than anyone as he is now in competition for an outfield spot and possibly out of the running to play at first. Peter O’Brien will be the main first baseman besides Walker in the batting order.
Another name that may come up in discussion before the start of Spring Training is Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who maynow be on Miami’s radar. Gonzalez would be a nice addition to the roster, but is also on Colorado’s list as possibly re-signing him,
Because there are plenty of questions about who will start in the outfield on Opening Day, Miami should not close the door on internal players while still seeking the best potential for this young squad.
"“Miami, obviously, has internal options, such as prospect Monte Harrison. But he’s likely to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans,” writes Frisaro. “For the start of the season, there’s definitely question marks in the outfield.”"