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Which first basemen are left in free agency?

Although José Abreu is off the board, the Marlins still have plenty of options left.

Trey Mancini #26 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a single against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning in Game Six of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

This week, the Houston Astros added a big piece to their World Series-winning squad. Cuban slugger José Abreu signed a 3-year, $58.5M contract, covering his age 36-38 seasons. According to Craig Mish of SportsGrid, the Marlins did show interest in José Abreu and Abreu showed interest in Miami, but no deal was agreed to.

Although the top first baseman is off the board, the Marlins still have a plenty of free agent options to take the pressure off of Garrett Cooper or simply replace him.

Trey Mancini

2022 Teams: Baltimore Orioles/Houston Astros

2022 Stats: .238 BA, .319 OBP, .391 SLG, .710 OPS, 18 HR, 63 RBI

Mancini had a down year by his standards and contributed only one hit during Houston’s entire playoff run. He also played less first base than ever (39 total games), starting more often at DH and occasionally in left field and right field.

There is hope that he may be able to replicate what he did back in 2017 and 2019. The risk is this could be the beginning of Mancini’s decline—he turns 31 in March.

Mancini should not be the top option for the Marlins, but he’s cheap enough for them to sign.

Yuli Gurriel

2022 Team: Houston Astros

2022 Stats: .242 BA, .288 OBP, .360 SLG, .647 OPS, 8 HR, 53 RBI

Mancini’s former teammate Yuli Gurriel had been with the Astros since 2016. The Abreu signing means he’ll definitely be looking for a new team. Gurriel had his worst season in the majors in 2022, but the year before, he won the AL batting title and Gold Glove at first base (.319/.383/.462/.846/15 HR/81 RBI). Unlike Mancini, Gurriel did well in the playoffs to prove that Father Time hasn’t beaten him yet. Still, there is obvious downside when putting your trust in a 38-year-old player.

The price tag for the Cuban contact hitter should be under $10M on a one-year deal.

Josh Bell

2022 Teams: Washington Nationals/San Diego Padres

2022 Stats: .266 BA, .362 OBP, .422 SLG, .784 OPS, 17 HR, 71 RBI

Bell had an All-Star-caliber campaign throughout the first half of 2022, but did not play well after the blockbuster trade that sent him along with Juan Soto over to the Padres (.192/.316/.271/.587/3 HR/14 RBI). After playing a little bit in the corner outfield spots in 2021, he stayed only at 1B this season.

Bell fits the mold of what Miami needs with their offense. He is a power hitter who has a high walk percentage and low strikeout percentage. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is about the same as Carlos Santana, who the Marlins showed interest in, according to the Miami Herald. The issue is Bell just turned 30 in August and has enough history as a big league run producer that he will get strong multi-year offers, only slightly less than Abreu.

The question remains how much the Marlins are willing to raise their payroll to improve in 2023.

Brandon Belt

2022 Team: San Francisco Giants

2022 Stats: .213 BA, .326 OBP, .350 SLG, .676 OPS, 8 HR, 23 RBI

The two-time World Series champ and longtime Giant is out in the open market. Although Belt had a down year in 2022, he is still a productive player as long as injuries don’t get in the way. He earned down-ballot NL MVP votes in 2020, then set a career high with 29 home runs in 2021. His career .356 OBP is the highest of anybody mentioned in this article. He is also among the best defensive first basemen available on the free agent market.

Belt would be a perfect fit for the Marlins as a stopgap for the next season or two. They just need to make an offer strong enough so that he doesn’t go back to San Fran.

Dominic Smith

2022 Team: New York Mets

2022 Stats: .194 BA, .276 OBP, .284 SLG, .560 OPS, 0 HR, 17 RBI

As a 27-year-old, Dominic Smith split his season between Triple-A and the majors. He had a .937 OPS for the Mets in 2019 and 2020 combined, but his role on the team decreased after that and he now finds himself entering a prove-it year.

Miami would be an amazing fit for Smith. When he’s right, he is a balanced hitter with a high OBP. He is already close friends with Jazz Chisholm Jr (both represented by Roc Nation Sports). The Marlins would also have club control of him for 2024 via arbitration.