If the Miami Marlins are going to take another step forward, the front office must make an impact through free agency.
The worst thing to Miami Marlins can do this winter is doing nothing in terms of free agency or potential trades to improve your organization.
Even before the end of this past season, names like Nicholas Castellanos, Jose Abreu, and Marcell Ozuna have been associated with our team in South Florida. Castellanos is still the one to watch. Abreu and Ozuna have both been offered qualifying contracts, which makes their departure from both Chicago and St. Louis are highly unlikely. If the Marlins want to match their offers, they would have to give up compensation, which could mean high draft picks.
We all know how successful this team has been for the past two seasons in the MLB Draft. Personally, I would love for the front office to still take a swing at Ozuna since he was raised through the Marlins organization.
“We want to get better,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said via MLB.com. “I think that’s the bottom line, and ownership has given that message. We know there are going to be opportunities for us to explore and find ways to get better, via multiple avenues. I think that’s what we’re going to begin with when we get to Arizona on Monday.”
If Castellanos becomes the team’s focal point in free agency, then other areas on the roster must be addressed at a cost-effective rate. This means second-tier players not as consistent as other stars will be sought. Matt Adams from Washington is a puzzle piece worth looking at. David Peralta, a gold glove outfielder in Arizona, could also get some attention. Yasiel Puig remains a name to consider to play both in the outfield and at first base.
The problem the Marlins will face with any high-profile free agent is money. Being one of the smallest payrolls in the Majors, a position the ownership group wants to maintain will send free agents running in other directions. Buying out Starlin Castro saved the team $16 million for next season. There will be other decisions on player deals that could shrink Derek Jeter’s wallet even more.
Free agency is about dollars and sense and about maintaining for the future. The present isn’t as bright as it will be in the next three seasons. With that belief comes the responsibility of Jeter, Hill, and others to keep hope alive and well while fans clamor for change in a new direction.
“I think we have to be open to everything that makes us better, as a team, and as an organization,” Hill said. “I don’t think we’re ruling out anything as we embark on our non-playing season.”
It is expected that the Marlins will test waters in free agency, becoming more engaged in making deals, unlike last season. The team will also listen more to trade offers from organizations looking to add pitching depth – something this franchise has plenty of.
The Marlins have been doing their homework long before the end of the 2019 season and come to the General Managers Meeting this week in Scottsdale, AZ looking to test potential tepid waters. If anything, the front office will see which teams will make deals in Marlins comfort zone.
Maybe the team can come away with another low-level deal like it did right after Jeter became co-owner of the team that netted Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper. The team should see if there is another veteran out there to acquire who can be had for a low trade offer.
Miami will need to use its trade equity to make a deal for a veteran slugger at some point. Maybe this is the time it happens and betters the team’s chances of moving out of the National League East cellar.