LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Trade talks are active, and the Marlins are in the process of juggling how to make moves to address their long-term objectives while also filling out their 2018 roster.On the trade front, the most buzz on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings was on if outfielders
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Trade talks are active, and the Marlins are in the process of juggling how to make moves to address their long-term objectives while also filling out their 2018 roster.
On the trade front, the most buzz on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings was on if outfielders Marcell Ozuna and/or Christian Yelich will be dealt. The team has not confirmed if either is available, but the organization is listening to potential offers on all of its players.
"I'd still categorize this as we're still surveying the marketplace," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "That's probably the fairest way to assess it."
Miami's top overall priority is starting pitching, but in terms of the bigger picture, the club is seeking organizational depth.
"Our focus here is not to just add pitching, but to increase our overall depth," Hill said. "While we do this, we have to get ready for 2018. That's part of the process as we look at ways to get better and build our organization and create a situation that we can compete year in, year out. We have to be mindful of what's around the corner, and that's 2018. Some of the moves may have a direct impact on 2018."
The Marlins made two major moves leading into the Winter Meetings, with the deal that sent reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees being finalized on Monday. Last Thursday, second baseman Dee Gordon was dealt to Seattle.
"We need to upgrade and improve our depth across the board," Hill said. "Do we need to add pitching? Yes. But do we need to add talent throughout? Yes. I think it's fairer to say we need to add talent."
The Stanton and Gordon deals cleared more than $330 million off the books for the Marlins and decreased the urgency to make additional trades. But the organization is committed to building from the ground up, and one of the top priorities is to strengthen the farm system.
To do so, the Marlins are receptive to additional trades. There's been strong speculation Ozuna could be dealt, with the Cardinals expressing interest in the slugger for weeks. St. Louis is viewed as the frontrunner if Miami were to deal Ozuna.
Some of the pitching prospects St. Louis discussed in a possible trade for Stanton, such as right-hander Sandy Alcantara, are candidates to be part of a trade for Ozuna, who's projected to make under $11 million in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
A two-time All-Star who belted 37 home runs in 2017, Ozuna also is drawing interest from the Giants, Nationals, Rangers, Rockies and Blue Jays.
Yelich is drawing at least inquiries from more than 10 other clubs.
Yelich, who turned 26 on Dec. 5, is signed through 2021 for a total of $43.25 million. The left-handed-hitting outfielder will make $7 million in 2018.
The D-Backs, Braves and Cardinals also are possibilities for Yelich.
After the Stanton trade, the Marlins have three natural outfielders on their 40-man roster: Yelich, Ozuna and prospect Braxton Lee.
Hill confirmed Derek Dietrich, who has played mostly second or third base, is a candidate to see some action in left field. Starlin Castro, acquired in the Stanton deal, is the regular second baseman. There's a chance he could be traded, but that isn't a given.
Barring a trade, Ozuna likely would move to right field, a position secured by Stanton since 2010.
"We obviously love [Dietrich's] versatility," Hill said. "I think that's something that we value in the National League. I think right now we have Castro playing second base; he can play second base. We know Dietrich can play the outfield. So it's an option."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.