MLB Miami Marlins

Ranking the Miami Marlins’ 5 Biggest Offseason Needs

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Ranking the Miami Marlins’ 5 Biggest Offseason Needs

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When you finish a season with 100 losses, there is obviously a lot of room for improvement on your team. For the Miami Marlins, they were able to see progression and improvement from young players throughout the season. Unfortunately, they also saw a lot of regression and disappointment from areas that they thought were ready to take off.

The best thing the Marlins were able to take from the 2013 season is that they have a legitimate ace in Jose Fernandez. The 2013 NL Rookie of the Year was the best pitcher in the NL from June 1 and ended up leading the league in WHIP and BAA.

The Marlins also saw their top hitting prospect Christian Yelich come up in July and show that he is ready to be an everyday player. He hit .288 with four home runs, 16 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 62 games. He, along with Marcell Ozuna, has set the Marlins up to have one of the most talented young outfields in the game -- one that already includes Giancarlo Stanton.

In the infield, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria proved he is a top defender, but his bat needs some work. The Marlins also got contributions from veterans Ed Lucas, Placido Polanco and Donovan Solano. None of those three are long-term solutions for the Fish, but Lucas and Solano may have played their way into bench roles in 2014.

The starting rotation will be the strength of this organization. Along with Fernandez, they saw growth form youngsters Nate Eovaldi and Jacob Turner, as well as newcomer Henderson Alvarez. Their top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney just won pitcher of the week in the Arizona Fall League and could contend for a spot in June.

In the Bullpen, closer Steve Cishek proved to be one of the best in all of baseball and set the franchise record for consecutive saves. Between lefty Mike Dunn and righty A.J. Ramos, the Marlins are all set at the back end of the bullpen, but need work in the middle. They will probably lose Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb this offseason and will look to replace them with cheaper options.

For the Marlins to be more competitive in 2014, they will need to upgrade the positions that they do not have an internal option for. They are a low-budget team and will probably look to do so with cheaper veteran free agents or minor leaguers acquired through trades.

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5. Second Baseman

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Derek Dietrich may be the answer at second base for the Miami Marlins, but it may not be his time yet. The Marlins need to sign a veteran that can begin the season as the everyday second baseman and allow Donovan Solano to be the utility player off the bench as he should be. In July, Dietrich should be ready to be an everyday player and be the long-term solution for Miami.

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4. Middle Reliever

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The Marlins will likely lose Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls this year. Those two veterans both had important roles in the 2013 team and will need to be replaced. The Marlins have had a history of signing minor league free agent relievers to Spring Training and getting productive years out of them. I would be surprised if the Marlins spent big money on a reliever instead of waiting for the market to clear out.

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3. Left-Handed Starter

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The Marlins got 13 starts from left-handed starters in 2013. The trio of Wade LeBlanc, Brian Flynn and Brad Hand combined to go 0-8 with an ERA over 6.5 in those 13 starts. With Andrew Heaney not likely to begin the season with the big league club, the Marlins need to go out and get a veteran lefty to break up the four righties in the rotation.

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2. Third Baseman

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The Miami Marlins' top hitting prospect is 2013 first-round draft pick Colin Moran. He is a power-hitting third baseman, but isn't likely to get a call-up until September 2014 or June of 2015. They can't get by with Ed Lucas and Placido Polanco again, so they will need to sign someone like Kevin Youkilis to be the everyday third baseman in 2014.

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1. Catcher

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The Miami Marlins thought Rob Brantly would be their long-term solution behind the plate. In 2013, he hit only .217 with one home run and lost his job to veteran Jeff Mathis, who is a career .195 hitter. Not only will they need to search for a catcher for next year, it is time to start looking for their catcher of the future since they have no viable options in their system. One option would be trading one of their outfielders and starters to a team like the Cincinnati Reds, who have multiple catchers.