There really isn’t much time for the Marlins to wait.
Even though the Winter Meetings are over, signings will quickly continue to unfold as the holidays approach. Miami wants a back-end reliever but there might not be many back-end options available soon.
Already once this offseason, waiting plagued the Marlins. The club was reportedly interested in free agent closer Mark Melancon, but while Miami was likely waiting for a response from Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, Melancon joined the Giants.
That’s a mild example, though it’s a notable one. The Marlins were right to wait on Chapman and Jansen, two of the best closers in the current baseball landscape. But the longer they wait, the fewer and fewer options will be available.
The Marlins missed on Chapman, who signed with the Yankees, though it seems Manager Don Mattingly preferred Jansen from the outset. Miami made an offer and is waiting for a response.
Plan B seems to be adding a pair of veteran relievers who have had success pitching late in games. Neftali Feliz and Brad Ziegler are among those being discussed. It seemed Koji Uehara was also an option, but while the Marlins are waiting on Jansen, he agreed to a deal with the Cubs.
Miami already has a productive back-end of its bullpen, punctuated by A.J. Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps. The Marlins also re-signed Dustin McGowan, who will likely prove to be valuable in a middle relief role.
Plan B will only work if the pitchers the Marlins are considering are available, and if they wait much longer, that might not be the case. How much longer will Miami wait for Jansen, who “values comfort”, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal?
The Marlins are taking the right approach to attempt to upgrade their roster and again seem serious about winning in 2017. But the longer the team waits, the fewer top relievers they will have to choose from at a time when a trade seems relatively unlikely given the club’s limited depth.