Ready to Splash Some Cash
Having been sellers at the annual Winter Meetings for the past two years, Miami is in a position to add talent to the roster this time around as the rebuild begins to turn the corner. Despite the unexpected but welcome additions of utility man Jonathan Villar and first baseman Jesús Aguilar earlier this week, there are still plenty of areas in which the Marlins can improve upon after a 57-105 season. Acquiring impact hitters is still the top priority, and while the team will likely not be looking to break the bank, further savvy moves would greatly improve the outlook of the team heading into 2020.
On the Shopping List
After addressing the lineup, Miami will look to bolster their bullpen with proven and accurate arms. Issuing free passes was the Achilles Heel of the Marlins 'pen in 2019—the group posted a 4.37 BB/9, which was second-worst in all of baseball. One of the main perpetrators was Tayron Guerrero, and it ended up costing the right-hander his job. The once-promising prospect was designated for assignment this week even though he would not have been arbitration eligible until 2021, creating even more need for new additions. (Guerrero remains in “DFA limbo” as of Friday morning, so there is an outside shot that he remains with the organization if unclaimed by the other MLB teams.)
Although the list of possible targets is too long for one paragraph, the Marlins will seemingly have interest in former All-Star Dellin Betances given his Yankees ties, and Sergio Romo, who earned great respect during his short stint with the team last season and seems to have no ill-will towards the organization after being traded to the Twins in July.
Let the Mock Drafts Begin
We are still roughly six months away for the 2020 Amateur Draft, but you can bet that the Miami's scouting department has been hard at work for months now in preparation. The latest mock draft has the Marlins selecting University of Georgia righty Emerson Hancock with the third overall selection, which would mark the first time that the Marlins used their first pick on a college pitcher since Andrew Heaney in 2012. In a system full of talented, yet high-risk pitchers, this scenario would make a lot of sense for the organization moving forward given how the front office has been able to add a lot of bats to the pipeline over the course of 2019.
It was a fairly busy week for Marlins news, not only with the trade for Villar and acquisition of Aguilar, but also the announcement that both the playing surface and outfield dimensions will be altered at Marlins Park for the 2020 season. Artificial turf will solve the field's growth issues, and the center and right-center field walls will be moved in seven feet and five feet, respectively. While the dimension changes do not sound like much, at least 17 games could have been dramatically impacted if they had already been implemented for 2019.
Fresh from his split as the third base coach with the Marlins, Fredi González has signed a contract to become a major league coach for the Orioles and manager Brandon Hyde, another former Marlins staffer. With his vast experience coaching different positions and managing over the course of his career, González will seemingly have a great deal of influence on the squad moving forward.