The Miami Marlins have been very active during the offseason. Miami entered the winter needing pitching and a great deal of it. Since then, they have acquired five new pitchers including Edinson Volquez, Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa, Jeff Locke and Dan Straily.
Tazawa and Ziegler will help the team’s strong bullpen while, Locke, Straily and Volquez will help in the starting rotation.
The rotation is not that deep, but some options for veteran’s arms are available, but the choices are limited.
For the most part, the pitching staff problems have been addressed, allowing the Marlins to focus now on improving its batting order.
The team needs a strong right-handed hitter that can platoon at first base with Justin Bour.
Free agents that fit this prototype include Mark Reynolds, Chris Carter, Billy Butler and Mike Napoli. Napoli could be too expensive for the Marlins, and Butler too inconsistent.
Reynolds and Carter both have power and could be acquired for less. Manager Don Mattingly has a starting lineup that is almost set. The Marlins do not need any platoon work other than at first.
Late last season Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich swapped outfield positions and Mattingly indicated he would keep Yelich in center for the upcoming season due to his superior defense.
As far as the bench, Miami will use A.J. Ellis a veteran backup player who was signed as a free agent earlier in the winter, as well as Ichiro Suzuki the team’s fourth outfielder and a lock to one day be in the Hall of Fame.
Utility player Derek Dietrich along with Miguel Rojas a reserve infielder will also be part of the bench.
Unless Miami does something unconventional such as carry a bullpen that had eight pitchers, the fifth spot on the bench is open and that is where the possible acquisition of Reynolds or Carter comes into play.
Carter would give the Marlins more power, while Reynolds is more versatile as he can play third base if an emergency comes up.
In the end, the decision will likely be one of money. The Marlins already have spent a great deal this offseason and a number of young players will likely be due for salary increases in the near future.
It likely means that between Reynolds and Carter, the player who will accepts the terms offered by Miami the first will likely sign with the team.