Marlins preach patience after quiet Winter Meetings

Miami adds handful of prospects amid an active Rule 5 Draft

December 8th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Though progress was made at the Winter Meetings, Marlins general manager Kim Ng won't be satisfied when she hops on her cross-country flight back to South Florida.

Miami was active in the Rule 5 Draft and completed its Elieser Hernandez/Jeff Brigham trade with the Mets by acquiring Triple-A outfielder Jake Mangum as the player to be named. But those are minor moves compared to what the ballclub needs to improve in 2023. Several targets, like outfielder Cody Bellinger and first baseman Josh Bell, reportedly signed elsewhere. Both would've helped fill holes on the roster.

"You always want to do things as soon as you can, but it's just not always in your court," Ng said on Wednesday night. "You can't always dictate the pace at which you go. And so, again, I guess what I can say is that the team that we have right now is really not going to be the team that you see on Opening Day. We'll try and do things judiciously and meticulously and methodically."

Biggest remaining needs

1. Bats
Ng isn't limiting where the Marlins might look to add offense, going on to say "that position can be almost anywhere on the field." It could come via trade or free agency. Ng continued by noting that the qualifying offer won't deter the Marlins, depending on the "caliber of the player."

2. Relief pitching
Miami has added JT Chargois, George Soriano, Eli Villalobos, Josh Simpson, Sean Reynolds and Nic Enright to the 40-man roster since the offseason began. Only Chargois has MLB experience.

"That's the great thing about the 40-man roster: Everybody's got a fair shot going into Spring Training to make the club," Ng said. "That's how I view it. I think we added a good handful of guys over the last several months who've got really good arms. So [we're] excited about the actual stuff that we're bringing into Spring Training, but aren't necessarily satisfied there either. And we're always looking to improve."

Rule 5 Draft
With an open spot on the 40-man roster, the Marlins selected Enright from the Guardians in the Major League phase.

Though Enright's fastball ranges from 91-94 mph, he has a career 12.8 K/9 rate since being picked in the 20th round by Cleveland in the 2019 MLB Draft. In '22, following a promotion to Triple-A, the 25-year-old right-hander recorded 50 strikeouts and just six walks in 37 innings across 29 outings with Triple-A Columbus.

"He's got unique movement on his fastball, and so that was something that our analytical team identified," said Bill Masse, who is overseeing player development and scouting. "Obviously, there's a reason why he's getting a lot of swing and misses, and so a lot of it was on his fastball. Good changeup, too. We just felt like it was a big, strong physical kid that was striking them out, and not walking a lot."

The Marlins also selected Double-A right-hander Austin Roberts (95-97 mph fastball, 1.47 WHIP) and High-A right-hander Cristian Charle (94-97 mph fastball, 1.10 WHIP) from the Pirates' organization in the Minor League phase. Masse hopes that pair can be part of the next wave of bullpen arms.

But Miami's most intriguing selection came in the first round of the Minor League portion: third baseman Dane Myers from the Tigers.

Myers, 26, was a two-way player at Rice University and began his professional career in that capacity until the 2021 season. In '22, he compiled an .822 OPS with 25 homers and 20 steals in 107 games with Double-A Erie before receiving a promotion. He fills a Triple-A need at third and first base, as well as the outfield. Masse said Myers was No. 1 on their list.

"He had a really solid year," Masse said, "and so that intrigued us the most, plus the fact that he's a really good athlete. He's a plus runner. He obviously has a plus arm. You start taking those tools, and you start looking at it a little closer, some people might not have seen that maybe he was a conversion guy. That's what happened."

Miami also didn't lose anyone in the Rule 5 Draft despite leaving first baseman/outfielder Troy Johnston (No. 20 prospect), outfielder Griffin Conine (No. 25) and right-hander M.D. Johnson unprotected.

GM's bottom line
"It is early. That's the thing. You can't really compare it to last year, because last year we sort of had this faux deadline. I think that's sort of what some people are thinking about. We still have four months left 'til Opening Day." -- Ng on offseason roster construction