Miami wants to add starting pitching and outfield depth this winter and the club might be prepared to spend big. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, the Marlins are interested in impending free agents Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Yoenis Cespedes.
After losing Henderson Alvarez to season-ending shoulder surgery and Jose Fernandez for another short time as a result of a shoulder issue, the Marlins want to ensure they have enough pitching depth. While adding big names is one possibility, it might not be realistic.
Adding depth behind Fernandez is essential, however the Marlins might also consider placing Justin Nicolino or Adam Conley in the 2016 starting rotation. Both have responded to increased playing time and give the Marlins young, left-handed arms to work with.
If Miami is open to spending this winter, Cueto could be an attractive option. At 29, he has pitched to a 3.44 ERA and 3.53 FIP over 212.0 innings between the Reds and Royals this season. The last time he ended a season with an ERA over 3.50 was 2010 and he could prove to be the veteran, dominant starter the Marlins need behind Fernandez.
While Cueto has proven to be effective, Leake has also had a notable amount of success over the last few seasons. Over 192.0 innings this year, he has pitched to a 3.70 ERA and 4.20 FIP while starting 30 contests. He too could be a durable option behind Fernandez, assuming Alvarez is not healthy enough to be in the opening day rotation, although he is expected to be prepared for spring training.
If the Marlins decide to move center fielder Marcell Ozuna, which Jackson notes Owner Jeffrey Loria is open to doing, Cespedes would likely emerge as a potential replacement. However, Cespedes' desire for a six-year contract might make adding him challenging. He is batting .291/.328/.542 to complement 35 home runs and 105 RBIs as the Mets prepare for the playoffs.
After ending the 2015 season third in the National League East, the Marlins are preparing for an active offseason. The primary goal is to hire a new manager, but the club is also set on improving the roster. Pitching depth and additional offense are both necessary, however adding big names such as Leake, Cueto or Cespedes might not be an option this winter.