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Marlins' overhaul includes seeking big bats

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- As part of their directive to restock their system from the bottom up with pitching, the Marlins parted with two of the most feared hitters in the game. Trading Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals removed 96 home runs from a lineup that remains a work in progress.

From an organizational standpoint, the Marlins are addressing their most pressing need: overall pitching at every level. The Ozuna and Stanton trades netted them, in part, Minor League right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Guzman.

MIAMI -- As part of their directive to restock their system from the bottom up with pitching, the Marlins parted with two of the most feared hitters in the game. Trading Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals removed 96 home runs from a lineup that remains a work in progress.

From an organizational standpoint, the Marlins are addressing their most pressing need: overall pitching at every level. The Ozuna and Stanton trades netted them, in part, Minor League right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Guzman.

Alcantara and Guzman are ranked as Miami's first and second prospects, respectively, by MLB Pipeline. Both project as top-of-the-rotation candidates.

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The Marlins' revamped system now has eight pitchers on its top-10 prospect list. Outfielder Magneuris Sierra and third baseman Brian Anderson -- rated fifth and sixth -- are the only position players.

With pitching at the forefront, the Marlins are also not losing sight that they now have a shortage of power hitters, especially in the outfield, for this season.

Only Christian Yelich remains from the 2017 starting outfield, but his status remains up in the air. The Marlins are listening to potential trade offers for the 26-year-old.

Yelich, Sierra and Braxton Lee, who has never played in a big league game, are the only outfielders on Miami's 40-man roster. All three are left-handed hitters.

Derek Dietrich, another lefty bat, is a candidate to see some time in left field.

Video: Michael Hill on Marlins acquiring Magneuris Sierra

As part of their restructuring, the Marlins continue to search for home run threats, especially from the right side.

"Absolutely, we're looking for guys who can provide power in the middle of the lineup," vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "If you look at all of the teams that finished in the American League and National League [playoffs], they all had that element in their lineup. It's something that you absolutely need to be able to compete for championships.

"Our scouts are looking to identify those guys. They certainly don't grow on trees, I can tell you that. It's something that is very difficult to find."

Obviously, the Marlins aren't going to replace the production of Stanton, who paced the Majors with 59 home runs, and Ozuna, who added 37.

As a team, Miami knocked 194 home runs in 2017, ranking 19th in the Majors. Stanton and Ozuna accounted for 53 of the club's 95 at Marlins Park.

Video: Marlins slugger Bour powers his way through 2017

Of those returning from 2017, Justin Bour's 25 home runs are the most. Yelich finished with 18 and catcher J.T. Realmuto, who also may be dealt, belted 17. Dietrich added 13. Second baseman Starlin Castro, who came over from the Yankees, posted a 16-homer campaign.

The Marlins aren't in the market for high-end free agents to help provide some pop for the short term. Their vision is more long range. They're also hopeful to develop players already in their system.

"Whether we can develop that [power] skill or not, I think to a degree you can," Denbo said. "If you have a guy who has raw power, who has the ability to hit the ball out of the park, when his timing is right; if his timing is not right consistently enough, then we certainly can help that. We can certainly put him in position where his timing is more workable, so the raw power he does have in his swing is more playable in game situations. It is possible to help that, but only to a certain degree.

"Good hitters are mostly good hitters throughout their career. Power hitters, most of them, have shown raw power earlier in their careers. Maybe not to the extent it's usable in the game. That's the job of player development, to put those guys in position where they are on time more consistently to be able to use that tool."

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

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