The Miami Marlins have had varying levels of interest in Cuban free agent Jose Dariel Abreu, who is expected to receive a hefty sum of money this offseason from an aspiring team. Initially it seemed as though Miami was not too keen on the defensively-challenged slugger, but interest in Abreu has picked up lately and the Fish may be players in this game after all.
The latest news regarding Abreu is that the Fish may be so interested in Abreu and his promising power bat that they may expand their expected payroll to fit him into the roster, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
This would be a promising development for the franchise, as the Fish would likely improve their offense significantly with Abreu in the lineup instead of incumbent first baseman Logan Morrison. The team would then be able to use Morrison as additional bait to lure a decent middle infielder or catcher to the roster via trade.
Abreu's recent workout in the Dominican Republic certainly caught the eye of many franchises, and that means that not only is his bat impressive, but that many teams will be interested in acquiring him. The Marlins face challengers in the San Francisco Giants, who appear to be the frontrunners thus far, along with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Boston Red Sox. All of these teams have significant financial resources at their disposal, so the team may have to appeal in other manners and up their ante to acquire Abreu.
One thing that has changed is the idea that the Fish may expand their expected payroll. Most sources expect the team to maintain a payroll akin to the 2013 one at $38 million, and that is with arbitration raises for prominent players like Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, and Steve Cishek coming up. The team is also considering extending Stanton to a long-term contract, which could tie up future money further. Of course, Cishek may be a trade candidate, and Morrison would be dealt if Abreu is acquired, as the idea of Abreu playing third base on an already defensively-challenged roster sounds frightening.
It increasingly appears as though the entire Marlins offseason will hinge on the pursuit of Abreu, and a potential signing may send ripples through much of the roster. Stay tuned for more Abreu rumors right here on Fish Stripes.