As the newly minted general manager for the Miami Marlins, Dan Jennings will be the brave soul who is going to take on the task of trying to build Miami's depleted offense. In an attempt to replicate small-market playoff teams like Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Oakland, Jennings will try to reinvent the face of Miami's offense without breaking the bank. A task that bold will seem to be even more outrageous when you look at the fact that Miami's 2013 payroll only consisted of about $40 million. While the Marlins can try to replicate Oakland's patented "Moneyball" movement which helped lead them to an AL West crown, it's safe to say the Marlins still has a ways to go until they come close to replicating Oakland's offensive firepower despite their somewhat similar payrolls.
The lone alternative to free agency would be if Miami attempted to use their over-abundance of pitching to try to secure an offensive weapon in an offseason deal. The combination of Miami's solid pitching depth with a dire need for more offensive weapons would make this a necessity for the team. Also, with the potential promotion of pitching prospects Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino during the 2014 or 2015 season, some of Miami's lower-caliber starters such as Tom Koehler or Jacob Turner could become expendable options. With that said, the potential return that you could get back for trading either of the two Marlins starters is unliekly to be the best for the future of the team despite the dire need for offensive weapons.
Transitioning into the world of free agency, there are various positions of need for Miami and potential available free agents options for those specific positions.
After Rob Brantly's extremely disappointing 2013 campaign that lead to his demotion to Triple-A, Miami will possibly be looking for a temporary fit at the catcher as J.T Realmuto continues to progress through the minors. One of the more solid backup catchers during the 2013 was Cubs veteran Dioner Navarro who signed an extremely cheap one-year deal for $1.75 million dollar with Chicago during last offseason. With an extremely solid line of .300/.365/.492, Navarro would immediately fixate himself into the starting gig in Miami's lineup. While his fantastic numbers would ideally lead him to collect a more lucrative contract, Navarro will probably slide under the radar as the likes of Jared Saltalamacchia and Brian McCann will be competing with Navarro for a big deal in free agency.
Going off of some recent comments by owner Jeffrey Loria, it appears that the team will be targeting potential replacements for third and first base. As Michael Jong mentioned in the following piece, Miami will have to throw out some of their more enticing pitching prospects if they want to upgrade at either of the corner infield positions. While the class of promising catching free agents is relatively deep, it's really tough to say that about the core of free agents for either third or first base as around 85 percent of the free agents are basically replacement level players. So if Loria is actually focused on trying to improve this team, then it would be smart to part with one of the top pitching prospects to get a solid offensive weapon for either of the corner infield positions.
In conclusion, the Marlins are in an extremely tough situation, as they want to improve their horrid offense but want to remain in their current financial state. Besides spending out of their desired payroll limitations, the Marlins will have to separate from one of their talented pitching prospects, which would seem pretty strange when you look at the team's past trade history. With that said, the situation is extremely dire for Miami's offense so it would be a pleasant and needed change for the future of the Marlins organization.