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Fish Bites: Miami Marlins know importance of consistent defense

Under infield coach Perry Hill, the Marlins know playing well defensively is will continue to be a key element to their development and success. Plus links on Colin Moran, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew Heaney.

Jonathan Ernst

-Free Agent Rankings: Third Base - Marlin Maniac - A Miami Marlins Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Third base figures to be an important target for the Marlins front office, and we have seen many rumors already this off-season that confirm that. Some of our other positions that we have spotlighted have seen a boost in rankings just because of their ability to also man the hot corner. Players like Mark Reynolds, Kevin Youkilis and Jhonny Peralta become possible targets due to their experience at third base. Let’s look at players who call third base their primary position.

-Marlins Way: Juan Uribe Wants Three-Year Contract - Marlin Maniac - A Miami Marlins Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Potential free agent signee Juan Uribe is said to be looking for a three-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Although the market is thin for third baseman this season, Heyman does not like the chances of Uribe getting such a contract.

-Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers Trade: Are Rangers out on Stanton? - Marlin Maniac - A Miami Marlins Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

On the surface, it may not seem like the Marlins would be evenly mildly interested in this turn-of-events, but it is important to remember, that Texas has been mentioned numerous times as a potential suitor for Giancarlo Stanton. Many people believed that for the Rangers to make a trade for the slugger, that they would need to include Profar in any trade to get him. Now it would seem that Profar will step in at second base as the starter next year. I wouldn’t be so certain of that.

-Former Marlin Chris Valaika signs with "first-class organization" | Fish Bytes

It stood to reason that Chris Valaika's future with the Marlins was pretty much toast when owner Jeffrey Loria vetoed the infielder's promotion from the minors late in the season. The reason: Loria was perturbed that Valaika, along with a handful of other players, complained to management that he had been harassed verbally by former hitting coach Tino Martinez, who resigned in the wake of the allegations. Martinez was Loria's hand-picked hire. The front office wanted to call up Valaika from Triple A New Orleans in August. But Loria said no.

-Yuniesky Betancourt on Marlins' radar; 40-man roster moves | Fish Bytes

Add another third baseman to the list being considered by the Marlins: Yuniesky Betancourt. According to Herald colleague Barry Jackson, the Marlins have touched base with representatives for Betancourt, and the interest might be mutual.

-Inbox: Will Jose Fernandez be kept on innings limit? | News

In general, it is not unreasonable to push a young starter up 30 innings per year early in his career. If that is the case for Fernandez, he could realistically progress to 200 innings in 2014. But reaching the 200-innings plateau raises some other potential concerns -- like his longevity.

-Marlins know defense will be key factor in resurgence | News

Pitching and defense were cornerstones of the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team. If the organization is to get back to contender status in the next few seasons, run prevention will once again be essential. It's no secret Miami scuffled at the plate last season. Finishing last in pretty much every significant offensive category was proof. But what hasn't received much attention is that the 2013 Marlins -- despite losing 100 games -- posted the best ERA (3.71) in franchise history, and the club was strong defensively. Miami finished in the middle of the Majors in errors committed with 88.

-Minnesota Twins' Byron Buxton, Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant head Arizona Fall League Top 20 prospects | News

The Arizona Fall League came to a close with its championship game on Saturday, effectively wrapping up the year for prospects playing in the United States (there's still winter ball to follow, after all). The 22nd edition of the Arizona Fall League was once again chock full of exciting young talent, though the league was younger than it typically has been, as more players who have yet to play above Class A participated. That's reflected in the Top 20 AFL Prospects list, which includes four teenagers.

-Marlins add six, including four arms, to 40-man roster | News

Pitching depth is the Marlins' strength, and on Wednesday, the organization took steps to protect four more of its Minor League arms. All teams had to set their 40-man rosters by midnight ET Wednesday, otherwise exposing qualifying players to the Rule 5 Draft in December. The Marlins avoided that with six players, including four pitchers. Right-handers Michael Brady, Jose Urena and Angel Sanchez joined lefty Grant Dayton on the 40-man. The two position players added were catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder Brent Keys.

Around The League

-D-backs hire Dave Duncan to help with pitching | News

The D-backs made official what has been reported for a while: Dave Duncan will join the organization as special assistant to the general manager/pitching consultant.

-Phillies hire Bob McClure to be pitching coach | News

The Phillies have found their new pitching coach. More than seven weeks after the Phils told Rich Dubee he would not be back next season, they announced on Thursday afternoon that they have hired Bob McClure.

-Texas Rangers trade Ian Kinsler to Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder | News

The Rangers acquired the big bat they were seeking this offseason by agreeing to send second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder.

-Left-hander Jason Vargas inks four-year deal with Royals | News

Left-hander Jason Vargas signed a four-year deal with the Royals, instantly adding another frontline starter to the club's rotation.

At Fish Stripes

-Marlins rumors: Miami interested in Cardinals' David Freese - Fish Stripes

As noted by beat reporter Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are pondering if Cardinals infielder David Freeze would be a viable fit for the team. Could his offensive ability be enough to warrant the acquisition? Or could he be too costly?

-Marlins get mixed results from the 2012 Blue Jays fire sale trade - Fish Stripes

The Miami Marlins are better off now than they were before they made the 2012 fire sale trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, The team made the right baseball decision in a vacuum, but the move was still detrimental in other manners.

-Marlins' top five prospect tools: Hit tool - Fish Stripes

A glance at the top five Marlins minor leaguers based on their hit tool.

-Miami Marlins trade target: David Freese - Fish Stripes

David Freese could be a third base option for the Miami Marlins next season, but would he be a good fit for the Fish given the short-term nature of his commitment?

-This Day In Marlins History: Florida signs free agent CF Devon White in 1995 - Fish Stripes

On this day in team history, the Marlins signed veteran free agent center fielder Devon White to a three-year, $9.9 million dollar contract. The seven-time Gold Glove winner's best days were behind him, but he did start on the 1997 championship team.