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Hill says Marlins open to free-agent additions

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The Marlins made news this offseason for the subtractions from their roster. Now, with Spring Training opening with pitchers and catchers' workouts on Wednesday, the club is exploring the free agent market, and is open to making at least one addition.

Miami is exploring outfielders still on the market, and there's a possibility one can sign before full-squad practices begin on Feb. 19.

MIAMI -- The Marlins made news this offseason for the subtractions from their roster. Now, with Spring Training opening with pitchers and catchers' workouts on Wednesday, the club is exploring the free agent market, and is open to making at least one addition.

Miami is exploring outfielders still on the market, and there's a possibility one can sign before full-squad practices begin on Feb. 19.

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"If we did want to do someone on a Major League contract, obviously, since we're at 40 on our roster, we'd have to make a subsequent move," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "That's something we're exploring right now. If that's the direction we need to go, then we're prepared to."

Melky Cabrera is one potential target. The 33-year-old was with the White Sox and Royals in 2017, combining for a slash line of .285/.324/.423 with 17 home runs and 85 RBIs. Cabrera was teammates with Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter from 2006-09 with the Yankees.

Video: Hill is happy with improved farm system after trades

Jon Jay, who played with the Cubs last year, is another possibility, but the 32-year-old Miami native is not the Marlins' top priority. Jay batted .296 with a .374 on-base percentage a year ago.

After trading Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, outfield is one of the most unsettled areas of the team. But the Marlins have added outfield depth to the organization. Lewis Brinson, acquired from the Brewers in the Yelich trade, is their No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and Magneuris Sierra, the team's No. 7 prospect, came over in the Ozuna deal with the Cardinals.

Video: Brinson brings speed, athleticism to Marlins

Braxton Lee, who joined last June in the Adeiny Hechavarria trade with the Rays, was the co-batting champ in the Double-A Southern League last year.

Lee, Brinson and Sierra are on the 40-man roster. All three are speedsters and natural center fielders, but could wind up in corner spots. They each have upside, but little to no MLB experience.

Video: Michael Hill on Marlins acquiring Magneuris Sierra

At FanFest on Saturday, manager Don Mattingly revealed Derek Dietrich will be the starting left fielder. That sets one of three spots, but Dietrich has primarily been an infielder in his career.

Garrett Cooper is a corner outfield option who also plays first base, and Scott Van Slyke is a non-roster invitee.

Adding a veteran like Cabrera or Jay would give the big league club an established veteran and organizational depth if Brinson or Sierra need more refining in the Minor Leagues when the season opens.

There are free agent possibilities, as well. Jose Bautista is a power threat who could be an interesting possibility if the veteran wanted to be on a building club.

"You like the pieces that you have, they fit with your existing pieces," Hill said. "We've been able to add layers of depth throughout our system, acquiring players from Triple-A all the way down to low A ball. So, from that standpoint, when you mix them in with our current inventory and prospects, we're pretty excited about what we've been able to build in a short time. Now, it's time to let these guys play and see where they're at.

"But it's a game of adjustments. We'll continue do whatever we need to do to get to where we need to go, and that's ultimately to bringing a championship back to South Florida."

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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