Ng discusses Marlins' offseason priorities
The Marlins' shopping list this offseason is relatively simple: Add multiple bats. How they go about doing that is still to be determined.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand had a chance to ask Kim Ng, whose one-year anniversary of her hiring as Miami's general manager falls later this week, some Hot Stove questions on Wednesday at the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. Ng's answers offer a glimpse into this winter's roadmap.
Will these bats come via free agency or trade?
Ng: It could be exclusively free agency. But that's why we're talking to all these clubs, too, is to figure out who's got bats available. Until we have an understanding of the whole market, we probably won't be able to determine how that's actually going to go.
Are you in a position where spending is not necessarily going to be an issue in terms of the free-agent market?
Ng: I think we're in pursuit of some really good offensive players, so I'm excited.
It's a stellar shortstop class. Is that an avenue the organization might pursue?
Ng: Given that we signed Miguel [Rojas] for two years, I think we're pretty solid there. I think we have other needs where that's where we're focused.
The top five free-agent shortstops are Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Javier Báez and Marcus Semien.
Will players with a qualifying offer attached to them affect the club's interest?
Ng: I think it's a factor, but I wouldn't say it's a deterrent.
Position players under this umbrella: OF Nick Castellanos (Reds), UTL Chris Taylor (Dodgers), OF Michael Conforto (Mets), 1B Freddie Freeman (Braves), SS Trevor Story (Rockies), SS Carlos Correa (Astros), SS Corey Seager (Dodgers), 1B Brandon Belt (Giants) and INF Marcus Semien (Blue Jays).
Is the Marlins' 2022 starting catcher on the 40-man roster?
Ng: We're looking to get better however we can get better.
Jorge Alfaro, Sandy León (free agent) and Alex Jackson, as well as rookies Nick Fortes and Payton Henry, combined for -0.1 WAR in 2021 -- 26th in the Majors -- per FanGraphs.
With the possibility of the universal designated hitter, could more importance be placed on a defensive-minded backstop as opposed to a bat-first catcher?
Ng: When you look at catchers, they're definitely a complex being. It's a complex position. I think that we really need to weigh the defensive attributes, the leadership attributes, along with the offensive contribution. I'm not sure I can give you a one-stop answer, but it's going to be the combination.
Marlins backstops ranked 24th in defensive runs saved (minus-six) and 15th in framing (1.7) in 2021. They recorded the most passed balls (28) and the 10th most errors (10).
With a top-five farm system, are some prospects considered off limits in a potential trade to acquire bats?
Ng: I think we have to be flexible, I think we have to be open-minded, and so I'm not sure we can just put blanket statements out there saying, "These five are untouchable," when it comes to our Minor League system.