Miami Marlins GM confident in offseason upgrades

Casey McGehee is one of several signings the Marlins made in an attempt to improve their offense. - Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

After making several free agent signings, the Miami Marlins are optimistic in their 2014 starting lineup. Miami filled several holes with established veterans with major league and postseason experience.

At the All-Star break in 2013, Miami Marlins Manager Mike Redmond was confident that the team's offense would be able to support an effective pitching staff for the second half of the season. The team was 14-41, but Redmond thought his young roster was making strides.

"I think our offense will continue to be a work in progress," Redmond said in a July interview with MLB.com. "I think we all know we're capable of swinging the bats better than we did in the first half. There were times we swung the bats really well. But there were other times when we were just shut down."

Miami's offensive struggles persisted in the second half, during which the team was unable to avoid losing 100 games. President of Baseball Operations Mike Hill called the team's mediocre offensive statistics and record "unacceptable," and promised the 2014 Marlins would be significantly improved.

"Improve our offense," Hill said of the organization's offseason approach. "That was our primary goal."

The Marlins entered the offseason solely looking to add controllable bats, and the organization's offseason moves are indicative of that. Miami was among the more active teams at the December Winter Meetings, signing free agents Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rafael Furcal, and Garrett Jones while trading Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.

Miami also signed free agent infielder Casey McGehee to a one-year contract to play third base until prospect Colin Moran is ready to be promoted.

"I think we've done a lot to reshape our roster and prepare us for 2014," Hill said. "Are we finished? No. But we've changed the look of this roster from 2013, and added pieces, we think, will help us win more games in 2014."

Within the last few weeks, the Marlins have reportedly been seeking a veteran relief pitcher after losing both Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb to free agency.

Pitching was a strength for Miami in 2014, and it is expected to be that way again. A young rotation led by NL Rookie of The Year Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi will keep the Marlins in close ballgames.

Signing outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to an extension is an idea being discussed internally. The Marlins may wait a year before entering negotiations to show Stanton, who has openly expressed his discontent with the franchise via Twitter after trades, that they will be competitive in the years to come.

Miami took care of major areas of concern after addressing holes at the third base and catcher positions. Hill continues to be confident in the Opening Day lineup coming off of a season during which the Marlins finished last in several key offensive categories.

"All the way back to our initial planning meeting when I got with our baseball operations people, we just looked at areas where we needed to improve," Hill said.

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