Now that the Miami Marlins are jumping into free agency with a little more expediency, who will be the next player to sign on the dotted line?
The Marlins have suddenly become heavily involved in hustle and bustle of baseball’s Hot Stove, making deals for players who could pay off handsomely, even if the transaction doesn’t appear to be that big of a risk.
Miami has tried to add power and speed to its everyday roster and depth to its bullpen over the course of the past two weeks. Other teams are scrambling as well to navigate through the free-agent waters without misstepping or getting their boat stuck in murky waters.
As Miami and the other four teams in the National League are busy on the phones figuring out their next moves, MLB.com writer Matthew Leach offers a bit of a guess as to what happens next. Leach believes the Marlins will still look to strengthen the lineup before the start of Spring Training.
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"“That’s probably going to be accomplished in the outfield,” Leach writes. “Miami isn’t swimming in the [Josh] Donaldson end of the pool these days, and beyond Donaldson, there just isn’t a lot of help to be had in the infield. The Marlins have a pretty good starting catcher, so that leaves the outfield.”"
The front office did make two moves earlier this month – trading Easton Lucas to the Baltimore Orioles for Jonathan Villar and then singing first baseman Jesus Aguilar to play first base. Both players immediately make the lineup more powerful. Villar adds more speed on the base pads and can play multiple positions.
The moves also allow manager Don Mattingly a chance to use more interchangeable parts in his lineup. There are more moves the Marlins could consider, as Leach also discusses.
"“A reunion with Marcell Ozuna is conceivable, as is Yasiel Puig taking his talents to South Florida,” he adds. “But a name like Kole Calhoun seems a little likelier. Either way, the Marlins most likely aren’t done this winter, and they know they need pop in their lineup.”"
If the team cannot make the moves they hope for on the open market, the team could seek a trade for a position player or two. There are also minor league prospects who are close to being ready for the next level. Miami was rumored to be interested in acquiring Eddie Rosario from the Minnesota Twins but did not want to part with starter Caleb Smith.
If the team continues to develop through the minor leagues, Monte Harrison may have a good a shot as anyone in camp to win a spot in the outfield.