Marlins Free Agency: Miami hopes to land Nicholas Castellanos

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 30: Nicholas Castellanos #6 of the Chicago Cubs runs the bases after hitting his second two run home run in the 2nd inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 30, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 30: Nicholas Castellanos #6 of the Chicago Cubs runs the bases after hitting his second two run home run in the 2nd inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 30, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Will the Marlins jump ahead of the pack to land outfielder Nicholas Castellanos in free agency this offseason?

It looks like both Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna are going to be very popular players this offseason as teams line up this winter to try and woe the outfielders to come to Miami. The Marlins figure to be part of this scrum, hoping to land one of the big-name bats to play in the outfield. It’s also possible the front office will break from its stance on spending and try to lure both men to South Florida.

I would be willing one bat will be enough in terms of team spending, with Castellanos the favorite of Miami’s free agency wish list. Ozuna was raised through the Marlins minor league system and was traded during the siphoning of players by Derek Jeter in the offseason of 2018. A reunion would make Marlins fans happy and add someone who is familiar with the outfield in Marlins Park.

But as reported last week, the slugger was tendered an offer by the St.  Louis Cardinals, which if match by the front office will cost the team compensation. Ozuna did not accept the offer.

The Chicago Cubs could still be in play to keep Castellanos, who has ties to the South Florida area, but it will still be a steady competition this offseason.

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"“The Cardinals appear to have a better chance of retaining Ozuna than the Cubs do with Castellanos, whom they acquired from Detroit at the Trade Deadline,” Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com writes. “Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported the Reds, White Sox and Rangers all have shown interest in Ozuna, with the Braves another potential landing spot.”"

And don’t leave out the Marlins, who desperately need a power bat in the outfield and could use another one at either first base or at third. Castellanos is a natural third baseman but would fit at either corner outfield spot with Don Mattingly’s team.

In other news: Morosi reports that the Marlins will more than likely keep starting pitcher Caleb Smith, although there are teams that have tested the waters about a potential trade. The left-hander figures to be the team’s No. 2 starter this season behind Sandy Alcantara.

"“We’ve worked hard and traded away a lot of good players to build the pitching depth we’ve been able to accumulate,” Michael Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations said. “I think that’s a strength of ours and something we’re going to build upon.”"

Smith dealt with injury issues once again this past season but did pace the team with 10 wins. He had issues surrendering the long ball, but he was also a strikeout artist. In 153.1 innings last season, he had 168 strikeouts while owning a 10-11 record with a 4.52 ERA.

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