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3 key issues facing Miami ahead of GM Meetings

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- When the General Managers Meetings begin on Monday, the Marlins are expected to explore trade possibilities for J.T. Realmuto.

But the status of their All-Star catcher is just one of the many objectives the front office will deal with during the three-day meetings at Carlsbad, Calif. After finishing 63-98, Miami has plenty of work to do in its building process.

MIAMI -- When the General Managers Meetings begin on Monday, the Marlins are expected to explore trade possibilities for J.T. Realmuto.

But the status of their All-Star catcher is just one of the many objectives the front office will deal with during the three-day meetings at Carlsbad, Calif. After finishing 63-98, Miami has plenty of work to do in its building process.

On the eve of the annual meetings, here's a look at what's on the Marlins' checklist.

Clarity of Realmuto market: For all the speculation that Realmuto will be dealt this offseason, president of baseball operations Michael Hill reiterated there is no urgency to move their best player. With Realmuto still eligible for arbitration, but not for free agency until 2021, the Marlins don't have to do anything, if they are not comfortable with the return for one of the best catchers in the game.

"He's under control for the next two years," Hill said. "The only question we need to address is what his arbitration-eligible number will be as a second-time eligible. Beyond that, our goal is to get this team better and improve upon our 2018 season."

Video: MIA@NYM: Realmuto singles home Rojas

According to Realmuto's agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, the catcher has informed the club he is not interested in signing an extension.

The Astros, Nationals, Braves and Dodgers, and basically any club in the market for a catcher, are expected to inquire about Realmuto's availability.

Add more offense: Whether next year includes Realmuto or not, there is a pressing need to improve offensively. The Marlins desperately need power, and the most basic of numbers show it. They were last in the Majors in runs (589), home runs (128), doubles (222) and slugging percentage (.357).

"The one thing that we tried to build with our current roster makeup is versatility," Hill said. "We're just looking for various ways to improve our offense."

Ideally, the Marlins covet players capable of playing in the middle of the field, while also being able to play multiple positions. They also will be looking for first-base possibilities.

"We like the young starting pitching that we have, and have coming," Hill said. "We like where we're at from a pitching-depth standpoint. But we know we need to score more runs and improve our offense. I think that will be a big part of the conversations we have."

Closing options: As a bullpen, the Marlins converted 57 percent of their save opportunities (30 of 53). Not all of them came in the ninth inning, but locking down leads is a high priority. The team ERA for the ninth inning was 6.10, the highest in the Majors.

Video: CIN@MIA: Steckenrider gets his 5th save of the year

So, the search is on for a closer.

Video: WSH@MIA: Conley retires Wieters, gets save in 8-5 win

The Marlins have internal options in Drew Steckenrider, Adam Conley and Tayron Guerrero.

Video: NYY@MIA: Guerrero K's Hicks to escape jam in the 7th

"A number of our young players in the 'pen showed a lot of promise," Hill said. "Drew Steckenrider and Conley and Guerrero all showed they can pitch high-leverage innings, and get meaningful outs for us. But as young players do, they had their hiccups, and had some missteps."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto