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Marlins determined to extend Stanton before signing free agents

Free agency is officially underway, but the Miami Marlins likely won't be active until an agreement (or lack of one) is reached with Stanton.

Mike Ehrmann

Michael Hill told the media last week that the organization is looking to add starting pitching and infield depth this offseason. But the Marlins' President of Baseball Operations told Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel that any major moves likely won't be made until the organization can sign Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal or discussions stall.

Miami has made it clear its offseason goal is to sign Stanton to a lengthy contract, and discussions started at the beginning of the month. Considering the baseball free agent market doesn't heat up until around the start of the General Managers meetings, the lack of signings early is not surprising. But the Marlins may remain quiet until they have an answer on Stanton's status.

"We don't get into specifics of our payroll, but the one thing we left our organizational meetings knowing is that we're going to be able to do what we need to do," Hill said. "The plan is to retain all of our players, including the big right fielder, hopefully, and find a way to continue to upgrade the roster."

Rodriguez also notes that the Marlins have reached out to Stanton's agent by phone, and Hill confirmed last week that the parties had spoken. However, Hill refused to say if an offer was extended, which isn't notable considering Miami's desire to keep things private during the process.

Entering the free agent frenzy late likely won't hurt the Marlins. The squad isn't expected to pursue any big names, and after surveying the free agent market could look to acquire a second baseman or veteran starter by making a trade, as Miami has a significant amount of starting pitching depth to offer.

As of Sunday, Miami's goal continues to be seen as realistic. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted that General Manager Dan Jennings said talks are ongoing, and Joel Sherman reported Jennings' belief that the only hope is to sign Stanton.

Although Jennings said that there is no timetable, the Marlins did say earlier this offseason that they wanted Stanton signed to a long term contract by the Winter Meetings.

Failing to get Stanton signed would not only further damage the reputation of the organization and frustrate the fan base, but could also lead to an unsuccessful offseason. The Marlins have rightfully adopted a "get Stanton signed first" approach, but if a deal cannot be complete, it may hurt the organization's ability to make other moves.