Since last November's fire sale trade with Toronto, the Marlins have been quiet about even discussing the possibility of signing a key free agent. Heading into the offseason, the team isn't expected to make any big moves.
Despite the fact that adding significant free agents may not be a realistic goal for Miami, the Marlins made public on Wednesday the 2014 payroll range, which can lead to speculation as to how much Owner Jeffrey Loria and the rest of the organization is looking to spend coming off of a 62-100 finish.
During the Wednesday conference call, President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said he has an idea of the range but was not given an exact number, according to MLB.com
Last season, Miami payroll hovered around $38 million, which was a significant decrease from the 2012 figure. It is expected to be around the same for next season, however if Loria is confident the team can significantly improve with the addition of just a few players, that figure could tentatively rise.
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro said that "it sounds as if something makes sense, the front office will present an argument to Loria."
"We have a range that we're working on," Hill said. "We haven't been given a definitive number at this point, but we know what we need to do. We have a range of where we may be, and we will hit the ground running in Orlando."
The annual General Managers Meetings are set for next week. Miami reportedly is going in with a goal to improve the offense in addition to exploring third base and catching options. The Marlins believe Rob Brantly could benefit from more time in Triple-A New Orleans.
"I think we're comfortable with the range that we have, and we can do what we need to do to improve the club," Hill said. "I think if there is something that we feel is mandatory for this club, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to go to Jeffrey and see if it is something that we can do."
Heading into the meetings, Hill and new general manager Dan Jennings have made one thing clear: Miami is looking to build around right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, not trade him.
Hill also discussed the fact that adding a power bat isn't necessarily the solution. The organization is seeking hitters who can utilize the gaps at Marlins Park. He also noted that the team reached out to free agent reliever Chad Qualls, who was effective out of Miami's bullpen last season.