The Winter Meetings are coming and, as every team does, the Marlins have a decision to make. They could buy and compete immediately in 2016 or they can sell and look toward the future. At this point, the Miami Marlins should do both.
To this point in the off-season, it has been all rumors for the Marlins. Jose Fernandez's name has been mentioned in trade rumors. Marcell Ozuna has been mentioned in trade rumors. There is a chance neither is moved, but there is also a chance both are moved.
Miami decided to hire Don Mattingly to manage the Marlins. The organization then decided not to renew the contract of veteran color commentator Tommy Hutton. That is the extent of the Marlins' actions this winter. But that could change relatively quickly.
When the Marlins arrive in Nashville, they should decide to both by buy and sell. Some would suggest that is simply not realistic. Miami can make it happen by adding starting pitching and moving any pieces it feel it does not need. Ozuna could fall into that category.
While the Marlins do have several young arms with major league experience, the rotation would likely benefit from the addition of at least a pair of young, controllable arms. Fernandez, Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart are almost certainly locks in the starting rotation. Miami has been linked to Yovani Gallardo and Doug Fister. Any affordable free agent or controllable young arm will likely be considered.
As the Marlins assess the organization as a whole, they will likely decide several pieces could be moved. Ozuna might be traded for starting pitching. Any other deal might be made to add minor league depth, since the Marlins' farm system has been relatively depleted in recent seasons.
After trading Steve Cishek last July, the Marlins could consider adding a closer. A right-handed first baseman could be ideal, and another bullpen arm or two could make the pitching staff that much better.
Last year at the Winter Meetings, the Marlins added Mat Latos and Dee Gordon. It is safe to say at that point they were buyers, although they did move one of their top prospects in Andrew Heaney.
Once the Winter Meetings begin, the direction the Marlins plan to take will be clear based exclusively on rumors. "Core" players almost certainly won't be moved, but deals will be explored. In order to compete in 2016, the Marlins should both buy and sell. It is still something that can be done.