The Miami Marlins seem to have addressed their catching void with the acquisition of veteran Christian Bethancourt. The former Guardian and Ray's defensive wizardry will be an upgrade over the club's 2023 unit. However, the Marlins reportedly remain open to adding another backstop to pair with their new acquisition.
Could the Miami Marlins add another catcher to pair with Bethancourt? And if so, who?
Does this make sense, especially considering the small-market club's limited financial resources? Depending on the price, it absolutely does!
The Fish could elect to stand pat with a tandem of Bethancourt and incumbent starter Nick Fortes. While both are very good defenders, neither is a threat to move the needle offensively. Bethancourt, the projected starter hit for a .225 average in 2023. His new backup Fortes? A sub-par .204 BA.
If the right opportunity presents itself, the franchise would be wise to consider bringing in a catcher with more offensive upside, with Fortes (who is still only 27 years old) pivoting to #3 on the depth chart. This would provide manager Skip Schumaker with a new dynamic at the position, while simultaneously providing healthy depth.
Would could the club potentially target? Top free agent and recent World Series champ Mitch Garver is still available to the highest bidder. Miami likely has their eyes set on replacing Jorge Soler with a similarly-tiered bat. Should options like JD Martinez and or Teoscar Hernandez fall through, Garver could be a splash bat as a catcher and DH option. This pairing feels unlikely. But not impossible.
Trade options including Danny Jansen (TOR) and Elias Diaz (COL) are also still realistic targets. Both have contracts making north of $5 million in 2024, making neither likely. But, either could hypothetically be options in the right trade.
But what about a veteran like Yasmani Grandal? The 35-year-old seems well past his days as an All-Star. Yet, the 12-year MLB veteran still hit for a .234 batting average with eight homers.
As recently as 2021, Grandal hit .240 with 23 homers. The former White Sox and Dodgers star is projected to hit around the .230 mark with between 10-15 home runs and 40-ish RBI. Each of these marks would pace a team like the Marlins. If Grandal appears on track to fetch less than his $4 million per season projected annual market value (which seems to be an overvaluation), Miami should consider bringing the former star back to South Florida for the first time since his college days.
Or what about a big name like Gary Sanchez? The slugger's $9.1 million annual market value projection is far too rich for Miami. But remember, the inconsistent backstop was floating around the minor league ranks as recently as mid-2023.
If his recent peaks and valley drive down his price point, his 20+ homer potential would be a great fit alongside the defensive-oriented Bethancourt. But only if the price is right.
The Marlins have bigger needs than a catcher. However, as they pursue a big bat, starting shortstop, and address other key needs, the club would be wise to continue to monitor the aforementioned players. Adding a competent bat to pair with Bethancourt's glove would give the lineup a much-needed boost at the bottom of their 2024 lineup.