It’s not a secret that the Marlins are still hoping to improve their lineup for the 2021 season despite focusing primarily on bullpen upgrades. And this time, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, they are seeking an outfielder in free agency, especially a left-handed hitter that is capable of playing right field.
Who are the most realistic fits for the Fish? We dived into Spotrac and searched for left-handed outfielders still available on the open market. That research produced four names we want to focus on: Josh Reddick, Eddie Rosario, Nomar Mazara, and Nick Markakis. All of them could be affordable and represent a nice bet for the Marlins.
Beginning with Reddick and Markakis, both are in their 30s and have had long careers with more than a decade of experience in the Majors. Though they are different hitters, they can still contribute at the highest level.
Reddick, 33, is coming off a respectable four-year run with the Astros, has played a lot in the postseason, and even won the 2017 World Series. He’s a 20-double, 20-homer, 75-RBI guy when getting full playing time. I don’t think he signs for a huge amount of money, yet the upside is great.
Markakis, 37, is the most accomplished hitter of this group. He won’t give you a lot of home runs, but he sure knows how to hit and get on base. The 15-year veteran reliably makes contact, which is also valuable. At his age, he can definitely be had on a one-year deal, perfect for the Marlins considering their strong wave of outfield prospects that’s on the way.
Then there are Rosario and Mazara, the guys that could give you a big surprise if they’re healthy and focused.
Rosario, who I like the most and is only 29, averaged 31 doubles, 28 four-baggers, 88 runs batted in, and 142 games for the Twins from 2017 to 2019 (.813 OPS). And despite the short season and all the struggles, the Puerto Rican sent 14 balls over the yard and registered 42 ribbies across 57 games in 2020. He’s primarily a left fielder, but has appeared in right 67 times in his career. As a bonus, Rosario is well-acquainted with Marlins bench coach and offensive coordinator James Rowson from their years together in Minnesota.
Regarding Mazara, 25, he was supposed to be one of the faces of the game, but never became the big thing everyone was expecting from him. But still, he was a perennial 20-homer hitter with the Rangers capable of hitting 30 doubles and recording 70-80 RBIs before falling off the earth with the White Sox in ‘20 (7 XBHs, .589 OPS, 149 PA).
They aren’t the only options that the Marlins have, but they’re the most appropriate under the current circumstances. There are also guys like Marcell Ozuna (RHB, LF/DH only, expensive), Joc Pederson (expensive), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF, expensive), Kyle Schwarber (LF/DH only), and Brett Gardner (almost exclusively LF)—they just might not fit as well into the Marlins’ defensive alignment and budget.
Which of these free agents are the Marlins most likely to sign?
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