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MLB Miami Marlins

2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 5 Areas the Miami Marlins Must Improve In

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5 Areas For Miami Marlins To Improve In At MLB Winter Meetings

Mike Hill
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the big signing of Jarrod Saltalamacchia by the Miami Marlins, the catching position would have no doubt topped this list. With that necessary move completed, there are still several areas that the Marlins need to address if they are serious about becoming winners in the near future. 2013 proved a lot for Miami. The season shows that the team is not as far away from being competitive as many so-called experts may have thought. It needs work, but the potential is there, and a good core is developing.

The Marlins have one of the most important parts of any MLB team, and something many teams struggle to find. They have a dependable ace and a possible future Cy Young winner in Jose Fernandez. Having this at a low salary allows the Marlins to focus on improving other areas to make sure the team can win as many games as possible in 2014. Fernandez is a potential 20-game winner, which is rarity these days. To reach that plateau though, the Marlins will need to surround him with an offense that can put a few runs on the board on a consistent basis.

With that being said, here the five areas that the Marlins must look to improve in during the Winter Meetings if they are to expedite their continued transformation from NL East doormats to legitimate contenders.

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5. Protection for Giancarlo Stanton

Marcell Ozuna
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins need to find a way to get Giancarlo Stanton some protection so he can put more balls in play and over the wall. Without a dependable bat behind Stanton, opposing teams will pitch around the Marlins’ biggest weapon and render his bat relatively useless on many days. This cannot happen if the Marlins want to win. Adding a big bat behind Stanton could result in gaining two offensive spots at once as Stanton would become more of a force. One candidate to handle that role is Marcell Ozuna, who started out like a house on fire in 2013 before slumping and then having his season end on an injury. Ozuna will be given every opportunity to win a starting job this spring, and could find himself batting behind Stanton before long.

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4. A Consistent Bat at First Base

Logan Morrison
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Logan Morrison is a very talented player and is very likely to show more in future seasons than he has shown as of late, but the Marlins may not be able to wait that out any longer. There are rumblings that the Marlins are looking to move Morrison this offseason, and this may end up best for both the team and for him. The Marlins could look to sign a big-time power-hitting first baseman such as Mike Napoli if they find a fair deal for Morrison.

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3. The Bench

Greg Dobbs
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins must improve their bench in 2014, and this cannot be understated. There was a problem late in games when the team needed a pinch-hit and couldn't get it from anyone. Even longtime standout Greg Dobbs had a tough time in 2013 to bring home the big run. Dobbs will be back in 2014, and the team will have to hope that 2013 was just a down year. Along with Dobbs, the Marlins will need to get more production from a new group of reserve players. There may be several new faces riding the pine for the Marlins in 2014, and that could end up being a good thing.

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2. Third Base

Colin Moran
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Moran is not ready and it’s unlikely that he will be ready during 2014 at any point. That being said, the Marlins have no third baseman currently. After handing the job to Placido Polanco in 2013, the team is on the hunt for a new stopgap until Moran can join the roster. There are names such as Juan Uribe floating around. Whoever the Marlins do sign, they need to hope they can get more from his bat than they got from Polanco. At a position that usually has good offensive numbers, the Marlins saw very little production with the bat from the hot corner in 2013.

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1. Second Base

Donovan Solano
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The second base job is up for grabs this Spring, and it may come down to a competition between Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich. The problem for Miami is that neither of these guys should be the long-term answer. The options are limited on who the Marlins can acquire though, unless they opt for a reunion with Dan Uggla via trade. Still, even that would only be a short-term answer and possibly a failed experiment. The team must find a way to improve 2B now and in the future.