MLB Miami Marlins

5 Realistic Moves the Miami Marlins Could Make This Offseason

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5 Realistic Moves the Miami Marlins Could Make This Offseason

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When you finish a season 62-100 your team needs a lot of work. For the Miami Marlins, they went into the 2013 season knowing that they were in full rebuilding mode and wanted to give some of their young prospects a chance to play at the big league level. They had highly touted prospects that were already in their system and a few that they traded for during the offseason.

The Marlins called up top prospects Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich in 2013. They found out very quickly with both guys that they are cornerstones of the franchise, and you can pencil them both in for opening day 2014. They were also able to get production from young pitchers Nate Eovaldi, Jacob Turner and Henderson Alvarez to solidify the back-end of the starting rotation. The Marlins are also set at closer with Steve Cishek and have a lefty out of the bullpen with Mike Dunn. With the exception of middle reliever A.J. Ramos, the rest of the bullpen is a work in progress.

The 2013 season also allowed the Marlins to give a few veterans a chance to either make a name for themselves at the big league level or still prove they are capable Major Leaguers. One of the best stories of the season was the play of Ed Lucas. Lucas spent 10 years in the minors before finally being called up by Miami. He learned to play every position during his time in the minors to make him a more valuable commodity to a National League team. Lucas hit .256 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 113 games.

The Marlins also gave guys like Jeff Mathis, Chris Coghlan, Chad Qualls and Justin Ruggiano chances to prove worthy of a permanent roster spot. All of these veterans stepped up during the season and were able to carve out niches on the team. The most surprising story is that of Chris Coghlan. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2009 he suffered with injuries and ineffectiveness over the last four years. Coghlan won a roster spot in Spring Training and was able to get his career back on track. He hit .256 and proved that he could play third base which is a position of need for the Marlins right now.

Going into the 2014 season the Marlins know what most of their roster is going to look like. However, they don’t have a permanent solution at second or third base, they need to find a catcher, a left-handed starter, a couple of bullpen arms and maybe even a first baseman if they don’t think Logan Morrison is the solution. With a limited payroll, the Marlins will have to get creative with free agents and on the trade market to fill these spots before the season begins.

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5. Sign Justin Morneau

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It is a long shot that Justin Morneau would sign with a team that is in the middle of rebuilding. At this stage in his career he is probably just concerned with chasing a ring and would only sign with a contender. However, if the Marlins could convince Morneau to sign in Miami he would be an instant upgrade at first and would be able to mentor young hitters like Christian Yelick, Adeiny Hechevarria and Marcel Ozuna. Morneau would also be a trade chip in July to help and build the minor league system.

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4. Sign Kevin Youkilis

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Kevin Youkilis has played on three teams the last two seasons and he missed most of 2013 with injuries. He needs to prove to a contender that he can stay healthy and produce for the first part of 2014 before someone takes a chance on him. He could play either corner spot for the Marlins and be another trade chip in July just like Morneau.

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3. Sign Jose Molina

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins thought Rob Brantly would be their permanent catcher after the excellent 2012 debut, but he struggled to hit in 2013 and showed no progress behind the plate either. He hit only .217 before being demoted to Triple A and was exposed as one of the worst fielding catchers in baseball. The Marlins are stuck with journeyman Jeff Mathis as their only legitimate catcher going into 2014. Jose Molina would be an instant upgrade behind the plate and would move Mathis back to his natural role as a backup. This would give the Marlins one more year to figure out what to do with Brantly and the position moving forward.

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2. Trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Boston Red Sox

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

No Marlin fan wants to see Giancarlo Stanton go anywhere. However, with him being arbitration eligible for the first time and the Marlins trying to keep a low payroll, this may be the time to send him away. The Boston Red Sox have a deep minor league system and may lose Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency. If the Marlins could get back Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley and Henry Owens from Boston, they should ship the power hitting right fielder and finish the complete makeover they started in 2013.

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1. Sign Barry Zito

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The Miami Marlins have four young starting pitchers to anchor their rotation next year. Jose Fernandez, Nate Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner are all favorites to be in the rotation in 2014. However, they are all right handed pitchers who throw hard, so the Marlins will need someone to change the pace a little. Barry Zito would be the perfect addition to the rotation, and he could teach the younger pitchers how to pitch instead of just throwing.