Will the Marlins find an everyday first baseman this offseason?
The Marlins needed a scorecard just to keep track of how many players they used at first base. There should be some change at the position this offseason because of the team’s desire to add another heavy hitter or two.
It’s not an easy decision. The Marlins must first take care of some housekeeping before they add players and salaries to their Major League team.
"“Due to player versatility, the Marlins don’t feel they have one or two specific areas of need. In general, they are seeking position players, preferably those with a “hit first” mentality and power potential,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes. “First base is the closest position to a specific area of need. The bullpen is another area that will receive plenty of attention in free agency, as well as a backup catcher.”"
So if the team uses this offseason to work on finding someone to work on the bag at first, then how does that shape the rest of the 25-man roster? If the team stands pat and goes to Spring Training in February without making any push to add someone, then Garrett Cooper would likely be the Opening Day starter. The problem as we all know is he cannot stay healthy or he could become a 30-35 home run hitter.
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If the Marlins do once again dump salary and have around $45 million on the books next year, then you could see some activity with mid-level players receiving a call from Derek Jeter or Michael Hill.
Rumors have flown around for the last few months that Jose Abreu from the Chicago White Sox will be a free agent target of the franchise. Justin Smoak has also been mentioned. I think there might be other names volleyed about. But the Marlins need to be smart in their decision to bring in someone they might have to overpay to wear their uniform.
Losing does that in this day and age of winning cures everything.
As Frisaro pointed out, Howie Kendrick might also be a name the Marlins consider because of his versatility.
Lewin Diaz, who was acquired from the Minnesota Twins for Sergio Romo, is the team’s best first base prospect, but I think he is at least a season away from making an impact. Somehow, as I mentioned in another story, I think Nick Markakis becomes an option as well.
The Marlins might be smart to package a pitcher or two for a Big League hitter. There could also be a surprise or two this offseason to the roster, as Wells Dusenbury explained.
"“Of players currently on the roster, Miami will have a few decisions to make. Starlin Castro has a team option for $16 million next season with a $1 million buy-out,” he writes. “Despite his strong finish, the Marlins aren’t expected to pick up Castro’s option for 2020. Miami has to make the final decision by five days after the World Series.”"
I say keep him because of leadership and his potential power at the top of the lineup. Finances will say differently. Someone is going to get a player in his prime.
For the organization, who plays first base next season is vital for consistency around the diamond. Finding the final piece to the four positions will help the coaching staff and the front office decide what to do with the other roster spots which may be open.
It will also give Marlins fans hope next season’s roster will be more potent where the long ball will be something they see on a more consistent basis.