Miami Marlins: Time to Make a Free Agent Leap?


The Miami Marlins hope to contend next year. Is it time to make a major move in free agency?

Before the horrifying death of Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins were on track to become one of the next great teams in MLB. Along with the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays to name just a couple, the Marlins were on the rise.

Aside from the extreme emotional impact of Fernandez’s death, Miami had to worry about the baseball side of business. President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill answered questions from reporters in a phone-based press conference on Friday evening. The questions were primarily aimed at Miami’s offseason plans. Hill discussed two important aspects of the team, but failed to truly express the Marlins plans in terms of making a free agent splash.

Before going any further, it is worth mentioning the Marlins have Giancarlo Stanton on their payroll through 2028; those years do not come cheap either. Even though the Marlins will end up paying Stanton $325 million without incentives, they need to have someone around him.

Whichever way the situation is sliced, Hill made no mention of a free agent splash. What he did discuss was the bench and bullpen of the Marlins.

As Hill discussed the Marlins bench, he seemed to give off the impression that minor moves will be made to the bench. The primary move Hill discussed was finding a right handed hitter to complement first baseman Justin Bour. That said, Hill seemed to discuss how manager Don Mattingly wants to develop Bour rather than sign someone to hit for him, “There’s not that clear-cut complement at first base, but I think in the growth and maturation of Justin Bour, [Mattingly has] talked about trying to challenge him more and expose him more to left-handed pitching.”

This will not be earth shattering and will not take the Marlins to the World Series. While that is the ultimate goal, this move is helping them get one step closer to that goal.

Moving onto the bullpen, Hill addressed the lack of left handed relievers in his bullpen, “Handedness didn’t come into play as much as finding the highest quality [reliever].” The Marlins may try to go after a reliever later this offseason, but the handedness will not seem to matter.

More from Call to the Pen

Let’s bring this full circle; while Hill examined the state of the bench and bullpen, he did not was unable to give information on a move that would bring the Marlins to a new level. Yes, there is not much talent left on the market this year that would make a drastic difference. No, that does not mean the Marlins are unable to start thinking about future years. As a matter a fact, it is clear they  are concerned about the future because of their signing of Stanton.

The main takeaway from Hill’s phone press conference can be interpreted in two different ways. One way to interpret the conference is the Marlins are being extremely cautious with their next big signing. What Miami may be trying to do is discover exactly what they need around Stanton. Instead of going out and trying to sign the best player on the open market, Miami may want to figure out what Stanton wants in a secondary player before they go and sign this player.

The other way that one could dissect the conference is the Marlins have an idea of what they want in a player with Stanton, but they are uncertain of the exact player and have decided not to cause an speculation by the media. The front office of the Marlins should know the media can make a story out of anything. The media can speculate like speculation has never been done before. Come to think of it, that is exactly what you are reading, pure speculation.

Next: Rangers eyeing Napoli, Hamilton

Within the next calendar year or so, the Marlins will be in a much better situation to set themselves up through 2028.