SAN DIEGO -- The Marlins came into the Winter Meetings on a mission to upgrade their sluggish offense, but they ended up exiting the four-day event by reaching an agreement with a free-agent reliever.
"We're in a good position, we really are," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "You come into these Meetings, and you want to continue to do what your plans are. But we report to Jupiter in two months. A lot is going to happen between now and then, and it's not relegated to these four days in San Diego that we complete our offseason."
The Marlins open Spring Training in mid-February at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex, and there remains plenty of time to complete deals.
"We actually started [the process] before we even got here," Hill said. "It's nice to have [the Meetings] in one place that you hope to get some things done."
BIGGEST REMAINING NEEDS
1. Impact hitter: The No. 1 goal is to get at least one more impactful hitter, most likely an outfielder who either has big league experience or is close to reaching the Majors. At the Winter Meetings, the Marlins had advanced discussions with free-agent outfielder Kole Calhoun, a left-handed hitter who knocked 33 home runs with the Angels in 2019. At this point, Calhoun is not yet ready to sign. Several others are in a similar situation, including Corey Dickerson. The Marlins also are still in the mix for right-handed-hitting outfielder Yasiel Puig. One thing is clear from the Meetings: Miami is not expected to continue its pursuit of Nicholas Castellanos, who appears out of the club's price range.
2. Trade options: More than half of MLB teams have checked in on the availability of starting pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith and Pablo López. It's extremely doubtful the Marlins will part with any of the three. But José Ureña, the club's Opening Day starter the past two seasons, is definitely available, and there very well could be a market for him before Spring Training begins. Under-the-radar right-hander Elieser Hernandez has drawn significant trade interest. With five years of club control remaining, Hernandez has become popular with other clubs. But it would take a lot to move a controllable starter.
3. Relief: On Miami's "to do" list, relief help falls right below impact hitters. At the Winter Meetings, the Marlins continued to explore the options on the market. But barring something surfacing more quickly, the bullpen likely will be addressed after the offensive needs are settled. That's because the front office wants to see how much is left to spend after acquiring another hitter. García helps address the bullpen.
RULE 5 DRAFT
With the third pick in the MLB Phase, Miami selected right-hander Sterling Sharp from the Nationals. Sharp ranked as Washington's No. 13 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He will be given a strong chance to make the Opening Day roster as a reliever. The Marlins took catcher Julian Leon from the Angels' system in the Triple-A Phase, while they lost outfielder Jhonny Santos in the Triple-A Phase to the Mariners.
GM'S BOTTOM LINE
"Our goal is to have a sustainable product, and you only do that with layers of talent. We've fallen into that trap before, where you start chasing, and you look up and your system is empty because you've traded everything away. It's a balancing act, it really is." -- Hill, on staying the building course and being mindful of not depleting the farm system with trades