With 40-man roster full, Miami's retooling likely done

January 25th, 2017

MIAMI -- The Marlins' offseason got rolling on Dec. 1 with the free-agent signing of right-hander , who is expected to challenge for a top-of-the-rotation spot. On Tuesday, Miami made a low-profile trade by acquiring right-hander from the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The addition of Gonzalez signaled something else: Now with all 40 of their roster spots filled, the Marlins likely are done making significant moves. The team could still bring in some non-roster invitees to Spring Training, but nothing is on the immediate horizon in terms of signing a free agent to a guaranteed big league contract.

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After the Marlins acquired right-hander Dan Straily from the Reds last Thursday for three prospects, president of baseball operations Michael Hill said the team hadn't made pursuing position-player depth a priority.

"It's not at the forefront of things for us," Hill said. "Our goal was to create as much pitching depth and quality as we could. I think [we've achieved that] with all the pitching that we've added this season. We've really made that a focus and gone out and to make sure that we made that happen this offseason."

Indications are nothing has changed since Hill's statements after the Straily trade.

In recent days, there had been reports that the Marlins were internally discussing whether to sign free-agent sluggers Chris Carter or . The chance of adding either is now extremely remote.

Financially, the Marlins are at their payroll limit, which will be around $110 million. To add an established player to even a modest contract of, say, $5 million would require the approval of owner Jeffrey Loria.

Miami has repeatedly stated publicly it intends to give left-handed-hitting first baseman more opportunities against lefty pitching. And the club is open to giving catcher J.T. Realmuto some time at first base as a right-handed option.

The Marlins also have been linked to outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who finished 2016 with Miami. Francoeur is open to playing some first base, and he is a popular clubhouse presence. It now appears the chance of Francoeur signing a guaranteed contract with the Marlins is slim. The question then becomes whether he would be willing to sign a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. That could eventually happen.

Acquiring Gonzalez also reinforces Miami's commitment to stockpiling as much pitching as possible.

In the Straily trade, the Marlins parted with right-handers and . Gonzalez basically replaces the void created by moving Brice, who had some big league time as a multi-inning reliever last year. Castillo, who has yet to pitch in the big leagues, projects as starter.

Gonzalez has an option, and the 24-year-old is expected to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans. If that plays out, he will get an opportunity to start, but he was used in relief last year by the Phillies.

The Marlins also appear to be leaning toward carrying eight relievers and 13 pitchers, which means manager Don Mattingly could be operating with a four-man bench, instead of the more traditional five.

If they don't sign a veteran like Francoeur, Miami could give stronger consideration to going with either catcher or outfielder on the Opening Day roster as a fifth bench player, if the club goes that route. Telis, a switch-hitter, can play first base, and Hood can play all three outfield spots.