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How to “seriously upgrade” Marlins offense? Get some of these players

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A basic overview of MLB free agent and trade targets with strong, recent track records of major league run production.

Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

At least the Marlins are being consistent with their messaging. Derek Jeter and Kim Ng made late-season public comments acknowledging their offensive shortcomings at the major league level. Then, anonymous colleagues of theirs reportedly told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald on Tuesday that they’ll be proactive about filling the lineup’s holes for the 2022 season:

This past year, Marlins batters combined for a 84 weighted runs created plus (100 represents league average)—only the Pirates (83 wRC+) and Rockies (82 wRC+) finished behind them among National League teams. They were more or less average on the basepaths (0.4 Base Running, per FanGraphs, and plus-1 Runs from Baserunning, per Baseball-Reference). As a result, they totaled 623 runs, second-to-last in the NL (and in MLB overall), and were shut out by opponents 14 times. That’s humiliating.

As Jackson alluded to in the above tweet, the Marlins have a very good pitching staff emerging. Also, they can bank on getting something positive from their toolsy, soon-to-be sophomore position players. The general framework of a competitive roster is already in place—they’re just browsing for the right supplementary pieces.

A logical starting point for that search: How about players who have generated the most total offensive value in recent years?

Let’s try offensive Wins Above Replacement from Baseball-Reference (oWAR). Because the 2021 campaign had an inordinate volume of injuries and COVID-related absences, I will widen the scope to include 2020, too. Miguel Rojas led all Marlins players during that two-year span with a pedestrian 3.5 oWAR.

The tables below list the 86 major leaguers with at least 3.6 oWAR since 2020. With few exceptions, they can be reasonably projected as valuable bats moving forward. I highlighted the names of pending free agents, plus those with 2022 contract options that are expected to be declined/opted out of.

Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 1-25)
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 1-25)
Stathead
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 26-50)
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 26-50)
Stathead
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 51-75)
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 51-75)
Stathead
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 76-86)
Offensive Wins Above Replacement leaders, 2020-2021 (No. 76-86)
Stathead

Dozens of these veterans are simply unattainable. However, the Marlins ought to have the financial flexibility and prospect depth to sign/trade for several of them this offseason. Players with a modicum of defensive versatility are ideal, but their positional fit shouldn’t be a make-of-break variable, particularly for the ones near the top of the list. The Marlins should go out of their way to accommodate impactful run producers.

There are no excuses for them ranking among the lowest-scoring teams again next year.

Poll

How many of these players will the Marlins acquire between now and Opening Day 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    0
    (57 votes)
  • 18%
    1
    (46 votes)
  • 38%
    2
    (96 votes)
  • 20%
    3+
    (50 votes)
249 votes total Vote Now