At last season's Winter Meetings, the Miami Marlins were notably quiet. Following a fire sale trade with Toronto, the Marlins didn't feel inclined to make any significant moves, and didn't.
On Tuesday night, Miami signed free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract to improve the offensive production from the catching position while finding a switch hitter to complement veteran Jeff Mathis. With the 2013 meetings set to begin on Monday, President of Baseball Operations Micheal Hill has confirmed to MLB.com that the team will continue looking for offense.
"There have been some continuing conversations from the GM meetings," Hill said. "I wouldn't say anything is imminent. We feel comfortable with the direction we are going. The goal still remains the same: to improve this roster and improve our offense."
Miami added a key offensive piece in Saltalamacchia, who hit .270 for the Red Sox last season. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com explained that the Marlins waited to improve their front office before making any major moves.
Before making an all-out push for free agents or trades, the Marlins solidified their revamped front office.
Mike Berger was recently named vice president/assistant general manager, and Jeff McAvoy was added as director of pro scouting. Both are highly respected evaluators. Berger was with the D-backs the past few years, and McAvoy joins Miami from the Rays. The two put the finishing touches on a remodeled front office that features Michael Hill as president of baseball operations and Dan Jennings as general manager.
Miami finished last in the majors last season in several major offensive categories, and the front office is seeking to find reasonably priced, big league ready, and controllable players. The organization is looking to upgrade at third base, and have mentioned seeking second and first baseman if a deal would make sense.
Through free agency, the Marlins have reportedly looked at Juan Uribe and Eric Chavez, and Mark Ellis for second base. The squad is looking for a short-term replacement before third base prospect Colin Moran is fully developed. Hill mentioned that Ed Lucas, Derek Dietrich, and Donovan Solano as players would could compete for time in Miami's 2014 infield.
"I don't think anything is out of the realm of possibilities," Hill said. "As we look at the third base option, we are definitely mindful of what we have in-house. We don't want to impede on anything we are trying to do on a long term basis."
At first base, Logan Morrison has been drawing the attention of several different teams:
A trade is possible, though Miami would then have to find another first baseman because of a lack of internal depth at the position. The Marlins reportedly have been interested in Mike Napoli, who like Saltalamacchia, is a South Florida native.
Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was the subject of several discussions at last month's General Managers meetings, however Hill has made it clear the team isn't looking to trade him.
While Miami is exploring the free agent market, the team could also part with a few pitching prospects to acquire offense.
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