The Miami Marlins look to find the right balance in free agency and handling their top minor league prospects this coming season.
Over the course of the past few days, the national media and Miami Marlins fans have heard plenty from team president of baseball operations Michael Hill on how the front office will handle everything from the current roster, to prospects, to free agency and trades.
It sounds cliché, but in listening to how the team will approach this offseason, you cannot help but get the sense the blueprint that was once laid out by CEO Derek Jeter is being tweaked a bit, that no stone is being left unturned.
That’s good news for the fans who are tired of supporting the losing culture of this organization, but in this change of direction, fans may want to see results sooner. If the franchise is truly making an effort to adjust the roster and bring in better than average players to help avoid another 100-loss season, then maybe it’s time to take the shackles off the payroll.
“Now after two straight last-place finishes in the National League East, and coming off the second-most losses in franchise history (105), there is a little more urgency to make improvements at the Major League level in 2020,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
“At the General Managers Meetings this week in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Marlins were exploring free-agent and trade targets.”
The Marlins have done a great job of building this organization from bottom to top with prospects and veterans who provide leadership. There isn’t, however, a player who has become the face of the organization, that Jeter remains the guy most associated with the changes made to the stadium, logo, colors, and lineup. That’s the kind of culture that must change. Your brand is only as good as the players who represent it, not the owner who captures all the limelight.
Some of the names linked to the Marlins this offseason are no longer on the market. Jose Abreu will stay in Chicago. Marcell Ozuna did not sign his tender in St. Louis, but the price may be too steep to sign him. Because of subtraction, where there really is a Hot Stove season this year, finding mid-level players may be the way Hill and the front office travel to find upgrades. There are needs at first base, in the outfield, in the bullpen and the rotation.
Miami is also in need of a catcher, either to platoon with a developing Jorge Alfaro of back him up behind the plate. In other words, there is still plenty of development needed before the Marlins can be considered contenders.
“It’s definitely a delicate balance, and we have to be very systematic with our approach in improving our club,” Hill said. “But the bottom line is we need to get better.”
This is a team looking to buy rather than sell. How much they are willing to spend hasn’t been determined or announced yet. And before we can believe changes will help this team now, there are still questions about the current 40-man roster that have not been resolved.
“In terms of how you get better, you get quality people,” Hill added. “You get knowledgeable people. You get the best minds in the game to support an incredibly talented group of players and help them reach their potential. And on top of that, you get some good players.”