The Miami Marlins managed to sever ties with many of their players from the 2006 and 2012 eras (yes, I know the 2012 era was extremely short) this offseason in one fell swoop, completing their mega-trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in November. In the process, the club opened up numerous holes in their roster, and while they have seemingly filled most of them, veteran players are still out and available to pick up any spare roles remaining. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the team has heard from veteran players like Bobby Abreu and Freddy Garcia about jobs on the team.
The Marlins are hearing from agents from several older veteran free agents who "would love to play here," the latest including Miami residents Freddy Garcia (7-6 for the Yankees in 2012) and outfielder Bobby Abreu (.242, 24 RBI for the Dodgers).
This should not surprise anyone when you think about it. Veterans like Abreu and Garcia are quickly running out of options given their age and recent performance. Playoff-caliber teams have filled out enough of their bench to not need players like those to help out. Rebuilding clubs that have been at their process for more than a year likely have all of their roles filled as well. Only teams like the Marlins that have recently torn down much of their foundation have spots available for veterans at the tail end of their careers.
If the Marlins do pursue players like Abreu or Garcia, it should not surprise anyone. The Fish have often acquired guys at the end of their shelf life to fill out bench roles. Remember when the team acquired Paul Lo Duca from the Washington Nationals after he spent time primarily in the minors that year? Recall the acquisition of Luis Gonzalez to play a bench role during the 2004 campaign? The history of the team has many such examples, and Abreu and Garcia are no different.
On the surface, there should be no reason for the Fish to acquire such players. Abreu has been declining for years at the plate, and while he was a useful player just two seasons ago, he has had 842 plate appearances between his age-37 and age-38 seasons that show that he is neither a capable bat nor glove. He adds little value over a younger player with a worse bat and a better glove like Bryan Petersen or Gorkys Hernandez, and both of those players were admittedly awful last year. At least Juan Pierre may still have a pulse.
Garcia, on the other hand, at least has some chance of being decent. In 2011, he posted a 3.62 ERA and 4.12 FIP for the New York Yankees, but last year he was shelled by home runs (1.5 per nine innings) and was terrible as a result. However, his xFIP, an ERA retrodictor that normalizes for home runs based on a player's fly ball rate, expected an ERA of 4.06 based on his strikeouts, walks, and fly ball rate last year. It is unlikely that Garcia will throw a 4.00 ERA in 2013 at age 37, but given a move to Marlins Park, it is not unreasonable to see a good amount of regression in that home run rate in 2013.
However, do the Marlins even have a need for either player? The team has its outfield set in Pierre, Justin Ruggiano, and Giancarlo Stanton, so Abreu would at best be a bench bat. He is left-handed, but the Marlins already have a defensively inept left-handed bench bat in Greg Dobbs. As for Garcia, the team's rotation seems has all but one spot guaranteed, as Ricky Nolasco, Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez own their spots. Wade LeBlanc, Alex Sanabia, and others could be competing for that last spot, but Garcia would not be a bad addition as your token "veteran presence" alongside Nolasco.
Should the Marlins sign either player? There is little to no need for either one, but unlike Abreu, Garcia could potentially be flipped for minor league depth if he bounces back decently. At worse, he can assist the younger staff, and he is not likely to be worse than the surprisingly 29-year-old LeBlanc. If Garcia is interested, the Marlins should consider a flyer on him.