MIAMI -- When the Marlins acquired Aaron Crow from the Kansas City Royals at the end of November, the club felt he would have an opportunity to make the starting rotation this spring. But after the Marlins added Mat Latos and Dan Haren, Miami will utilize Crow in a relief role in 2015.
The 28-year old Crow was a key part of Kansas City's bullpen as they made a playoff push. He posted a 6-1 record with a 4.12 ERA and 5.40 FIP in 59 innings. Crow has spent the last four seasons as a setup man, and in his first three seasons with the Royals had a ground ball rate above 50 percent.
"The thing that was attractive was his versatility," President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said during Saturday's Winter Warmup. "We knew that he was a reliever. Not knowing what the rest of the winter would hold for us, we had him as a starter in mind. Now that we've been able to acquire the starters that we have, we'll just keep him where he is comfortable."
Both Hill and President David Samson touched on several other topics as the squad prepares to have its first full team workout next week:
-The Marlins' first offseason goal was signing Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal, which the club was able to do in November. While Hill noted some were surprised the Marlins were able to extend Stanton, he reiterated it was the organization's primary goal.
"People were surprised we were able to retain our superstar," Hill said. "I'm glad he believed in what we are trying to do. I think [the extension] just lined everything else up. Giancarlo is a special player and is one of the great young stars of our game. We are really excited about it. He is such a threat in the batter's box."
-With the exception of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Marlins' infield was significantly altered this offseason. The addition of Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, and Michael Morse should prove to help the lineup while bringing stability to the infield.
"There is no question we have the best outfield in baseball, but we had an imbalanced infield," Hill said. "We didn't get the production we needed out of first base. Second base was a merry go round and we didn't really get what we needed offensively or defensively. Our shortstop [Adeiny Hechavarria] is a gold glove shortstop and made tremendous strides. Casey McGehee had a great year and did a solid job for us. We wanted to upgrade in every area possible, and we feel like we were able to do that."
-Throughout the course of the offseason, the Marlins made it clear they did not feel it was necessary to respond to each of the National League East teams' major moves. Miami is confident in its depth and does not pay significant attention to the moves other clubs make.
"If we handle our business, I am pretty excited about where that will lead," Hill said.
-Miami wanted to make sure it had enough starting pitching depth to ensure it will remain competitive until Jose Fernandez returns this summer. The Marlins are expected to break camp with a rotation featuring Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, and Tom Koehler.
"It was a goal for us to create as much depth as possible knowing that Jose was going to be unavailable for the first few months of the season," Hill said. "I was ecstatic that we were able to add [Mat] Latos. [Dan] Haren is ready to go."
-While the Marlins have only had one or two games televised in Japan during each of the last few seasons, 90 Marlins games will be televised in Japan in 2015 after the club signed Ichiro Suzuki. Samson noted he believes that Miami will become "an internationally celebrated team" because of its popularity in Latin America and new link to Japan.
-Samson added that just after noon on Saturday, the Marlins had already surpassed the number of tickets they had sold during the first week tickets were on sale.
"Every metric that we use is positive," Samson said. "People are happy. The mood is good. But we need to play baseball and win games and that's what the plan is."