Fish Bites: What Approach Do Miami Marlins Take At GM, Winter Meetings

Marc Serota

At the Winter Meetings last December, the Miami Marlins were very aggressive. The team was quick to sign Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes. How will Miami approach this year's meetings?

It didn't really work out well for President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest and the rest of the Miami Marlins' front office. Last December, the Marlins did something that nobody ever thought they would do. They spent a significant amount of money on well-known players whose statistics support the idea that they play the game well and the right way.

Miami was never notorious for going out and signing big-name players. Prior to last year, the Marlins used a talented and young core, featuring Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, and Josh Johnson to stay competitive in what is considered by many one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

By signing under the radar players looking to get back into the game to minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training, Miami was always able to put together a satisfactory team. It was never a team that would win the National League East, but it wasn't a team that commonly found themselv"Hopefully, they do well next year so Red gets power to pick his people," the source said. "[Loria] keeps making decisions." es in last place, either.

The real and honest reason that Miami went about significantly increasing their payroll prior to the 2012 season might never be known. The Marlins wanted to put a competitive team on the field, however after key injuries and inconsistencies, there was never a balance.

Last winter, after the team traded two prospects to lure Ozzie Guillen away from the Chicago White Sox, Miami went out and signed three key free agents, something that they hadn't done a lot of in the past. Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell all put on the new Miami Marlins uniform, as did Guillen.

But after a disastrous season, Heath Bell isn't a Marlin anymore. And neither is Guillen.

Last season is now the past. The winter meetings are in the near future, though, and the Marlins have to decide what approach they are going to take. Are they going to take risks and be aggressive like last year, or stay patient and reserved in an attempt to build around a young core and a new manager?

-Miami recently hired former Yankee Tino Martinez as their hitting coach. Martinez won four World Series titles with the Yankees and is a lifetime .271 hitter. He was most recently working with New York as a special assistant before being hired by the Marlins. Sources have confirmed that Redmond has not been given to choose the members of his staff.

-As the Marlins are preparing to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2003 championship team, Jack McKeon says that the San Francisco Giants remind him of the team he took to World Series. "I look at that '03 club sort of like the [2012] Giants," McKeon said. "No one considered we had a chance. But the character of that club was so great. They were able to overcome a lot of things. I think the camaraderie on that club, the unselfishness and the dedication of those guys was something we will all look at and say, 'Hey, this was quite a club.'"

-Giancarlo Stanton's scoreboard-breaking catch and a great defensive play by Justin Ruggiano have both been nominated for a Greatness in Baseball yearly award. There are nominees in 21 categories for this year's awards. "When a guy is pitching like that, I'll sell out my body for him," Ruggiano said of his catch. "For his sake, I'm glad I was able to make that catch."

-Coming off of a last-place finish in the NL East, Miami has many decisions to make. At the annual GM meetings, several of those were likely addressed. "When you have a new manager, and potentially half your coaching staff is new, you can have a lot of competition naturally," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "These guys [the staff], they want to have that fresh-slate-kind-of-thing going on. They want to see competition. They want to make their own evaluations in conjunction with us. I think it's an opportunity to do that."

-Shortstop Jose Reyes was honored last Wednesday night at the annual Lou Gehrig Sports award benefit dinner. At the event, Reyes said he is excited for 2013, and is looking forward to playing for Mike Redmond. "He's a good guy," Reyes said of Redmond. "I played against him. I talked to him on the phone. I can't wait to go to Spring Training and get to know him well."

Around The League

-The Washington Nationals have announced that they are bringing manager Davey Johnson back for one more season. Last season, Johnson led the Nationals to their first NL East title and a major-league high 98 victories.

-Boston has reached a deal with former Atlanta catcher David Ross. Ross is considered one of the best backup catchers in baseball. The deal is for two years and is worth $6.2 million.

-The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the rights to Korean left-handed pitching prospect Hyun-Jin Ryu. "We believe [the Dodgers' offer] is acceptable for the rights to the top ace in South Korea," the Eagles said on their official website, according to Agence France-Presse.

-R.A. Dickey has recently been given the Branch Rickey Award for humanitarian service in baseball. After being presented with the award, Dickey said he wants to remain a Met. "I don't want to go, let's put it that way. I like being a Met. That being said, I understand the business that I'm in. I've always understood it's a possibility and there would be no acrimony. It's not an acrimonious situation. Sandy is doing his due diligence because that's what he's paid to do for the New York Mets. I can hold it the way it's supposed to be held. I don't take it personally."

At Fish Stripes

-What are Miami's third base options. Check them out here.

-What approach will the Marlins take this offseason? Will they buy or sell?

-Should the Marlins try to extend Giancarlo Stanton and others this offseason?

-Miami has many holes to fill if they want to put a winning team on the field. Which will they address first?

-What are Miami's free agent options? Find out here.

-Will acquiring players via trade or trading certain players help the Marlins in the future?

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