Add Cliff Lee and Edwin Jackson to the list of pitchers the Marlins have expressed interest in this winter.
Miami is hoping to add starting pitching depth this off-season and has been linked to Jackson, Lee and Doug Fister, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
Jackson adds the Marlins are still "hoping to find a pitching bargain" after remaining quiet during the annual Winter Meetings in Nashville.
As 2015 winded down, the Marlins were forced to rely on their depth. Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino both saw time in the starting rotation, but heading into 2016, both could compete for a roster spot while ultimately opening the season in Triple-A and giving the organization additional depth.
Beyond Nicolino and Conley, Miami does not have many internal options. Brad Hand is out of options and could make the club as a starter, although the Marlins utilized him as a reliever toward the end of 2016 and Hand responded.
Miami was not expected to sign a major free agent starter, and with Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto and now Scott Kazmir off the board, the market for middle tier free agent pitchers should start to take place. While the Marlins are unlikely to sign a veteran starter to an extended deal, a multi-year deal could still prove to be realistic. The club has had success targeting potential bounce back candidates in the past and might be hoping to do the same to improve the roster.
Fister has been connected to the Marlins multiple times this winter because he is unlikely to demand a large deal. At 31, he had an inconsistent year, pitching to a 4.19 ERA and 4.55 FIP over 103.0 innings with the Nationals. Fister only made 15 starts last season, but he made at least 25 in each of the five seasons prior. Fister has proven he can keep his pitch count low and remain in games in the seventh and eighth inning regularly, which is almost certainly what the Marlins are hoping for.
If the Marlins are truly seeking an inexpensive starter, Lee could be a realistic option. He missed the entire 2015 season with an arm injury and might accept a one-year deal to display how valuable he can still be. In 2014 with the Phillies, Lee pitched to a 3.65 ERA and 2.96 FIP over 81.1 innings. He has proven to be one of the better pitchers in baseball when healthy and if he joins the Marlins' staff could be effective while mentoring Nicolino and Conley.
Jackson, 32, might not be as affordable, but he did not have a great 2015 campaign. Over 55.2 innings, he pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 3.82 FIP and could also be willing to accept a short-term deal. Jackson made at least 27 starts for eight consecutive years heading into 2015 but was signed to be a reliever with the Cubs. He has been a successful starter and can be a reasonably priced right-handed addition to Miami's staff.
The Marlins have been quiet to this point and that might not change quickly. The club wants to add starting pitching and appears to be considering every available option.