The Miami Marlins have not made a significant move in free agency to date. The team should start making moves in December.
It’s been a very slow off-season for the Marlins so far. While other teams have already jumped at the chance to sign players and improve their roster, Miami’s front office has essentially stood pat for the last two weeks.
It is believed that business should pick up during the MLB owners’ meetings the second week in December. Until then the Marlins have made small moves to their current roster, while they still deal with international business and determining which players will be tendered a contract offer.
The most notable decision the team has made so far is the release of Wei-Yin Chen, who toiled with the team since 2016, and despite still eating his contract this season and 2021, it was the right move to make.
Michael Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations, preached two weeks ago that there is a delicate balance this team is taking in making sure he continues on the same path of minor-league development while trying to add better puzzle pieces to help in the field and on the mound.
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He spoke candidly in stating that if there is a player who fits the profile of what the organization is trying to accomplish, they will pursue him and do everything they can to sign him to a contract. That doesn’t mean it is for the long term, as the Marlins are still going to be fairly thrifty and trying to build a winning organization.
My fear as a fan of the organization is nothing happens. The Marlins appear ready to move a little more steadily than they did the last two seasons in free agency. But if they stick to their continuing mantra, getting a veteran with significant power may be an issue. Nicholas Castellanos has been the one name that has remained a continual attraction for this team, but nobody within the organization has spoken about him.
Marcell Ozuna, who grew up in the Marlins organization, has not signed his tendered offer from St. Louis and would be a significant upgrade for the team. The problem with signing Ozuna might be that he is a little more costly than the team is willing to spend. Remember too that it was Jeter who sent him to St. Louis for Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, and other prospects.
While major-league baseball is fully aware of what the Marlins are doing, following the same path that the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Cleveland Indians have followed in producing winning franchises, there is still no guarantee anybody’s going to want to come to sunny South Florida. Jeter is the Marlins best and most interesting selling point. A young and developing pitching staff is next. Miami has done well to keep Brian Anderson as a cornerstone piece and has added Isan Diaz, Jesus Sanchez, Monte Harrison, and Lewin Diaz through trades.
The minor leagues are also chocked full of MLB draft picks who should be swinging for the fences within the next three or four seasons. Still, even with all that progress, bringing players to Miami on short term deals still becomes a tricky situation.
Fans should be cautious in their optimism this winter. Will the Marlins make deals? Yes, I think so. Will they be the ones that everybody anticipates? Possibly. Will there be more depth on this roster? Most definitely. But will it give this team a chance to win continuously in 2020?
That’s a question nobody can answer until we see what happens on the field.