Marlins cautious about making major moves
No big trades or free-agent signings for club so far this offseason
MIAMI -- As they say, "Sometimes the best moves are the ones not made at all."
The Marlins are going through an offseason that, thus far, hasn't seen them make any big trades or signings. One reason the organization is hesitant to do something drastic is because Miami is still figuring out if the core the club already has should be kept together.
In some cases, the Marlins want new manager Don Mattingly and his staff to evaluate the roster. Also, there are some new additions to the front office and development staffs who are still familiarizing themselves with the players in the system.
At the Winter Meetings last week in Nashville, Tenn., Mattingly had productive discussions with team executives.
"Obviously, I knew a lot of guys from what you see, more on the player side," Mattingly said. "Obviously, you know Jose [Fernandez] and some of the guys out of the bullpen -- [Carter] Capps and [A.J.] Ramos, [Mike] Dunn. Some of the more established guys."
A year ago, the Marlins were among the more active teams in the offseason, especially at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, swinging trades with the Dodgers and Reds that netted Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas and Mat Latos. The Marlins followed up those deals with the free-agent signing of Michael Morse, and they traded with the Yankees for Martin Prado and David Phelps.
To this point, Miami has been busy mostly reshaping its front office and coaching staff, bringing in new hitting coach Barry Bonds and bench coach Tim Wallach.
The Marlins did make plenty of noise fielding calls on Fernandez at the Winter Meetings, but after surveying the market, a trade appears unlikely. The outcome could be different for outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who also has been linked to numerous trade discussions for a starting pitcher.
Ozuna is enticing because he has tremendous upside and is affordable (he becomes arbitration-eligible in 2017). Ideally, Miami would like for Mattingly and Bonds to make their evaluations on Ozuna, but that won't occur until they see him in Spring Training.
Mattingly is getting to know the front office and the players.
"For me, the learning part has been the other guys," Mattingly said. "That's what we've had a lot of meetings for, going over players, going over things like payroll going forward. What we're going to be able to do, what are our goals, what we're trying to accomplish, what we need right now. So that's been part of it."
The Marlins were among the more disappointing teams in 2015, going 71-91. But the club finished strong, with a 17-12 record in its final 29 games.
Miami would like for its nucleus to stay together, if possible.
"I've been able to do a lot of talking with different members of our organization, getting the feel for a little bit more of the subtle stuff," Mattingly said. "What kind of worker is this kid? What kind of teammate? The things that are kind of the intangibles that you're trying to put a team together and how that's all going to mold together."