Miami turning attention to arb-eligible players

January 13th, 2016

MIAMI -- Quiet for much of the Hot Stove season, the Marlins made their major move on Tuesday and addressed their biggest need. Reaching agreement on a five-year, $80 million deal with Wei-Yin Chen has given Miami a front-line starter, and it sent a signal the club intends to contend in 2016.

But the Marlins weren't done after locking up the 30-year-old left-hander. They signed infielder Chris Johnson, a platoon option at first base and depth at third. When you toss in Edwin Jackson, also officially inked Wednesday, Miami has added three veterans since New Year's Day.

Then on Wednesday, the club reached a multiyear extension with second baseman Dee Gordon.

Hot Stove Tracker

What's next? Indications are the Marlins aren't done shopping or making moves just yet. Here are four things to expect:

1. Arbitration process

Foremost on the front office's plate now is securing contracts with its eight arbitration-eligible players: Jose Fernandez, Adeiny Hechavarria, A.J. Ramos, Tom Koehler, Carter Capps, David Phelps and Bryan Morris. Tuesday was the day players filed for arbitration. Friday is the arbitration salary exchange deadline. Miami has a policy of going straight to a hearing if it doesn't reach a deal before the exchange deadline.

2. More pitching

Still a sticking point with the front office is the fact that 13 starters were used in 2015, which magnifies the need for depth. So even with the signings of Chen and Jackson, the Marlins continue to shop for starting pitching. They aren't looking to spend much, but they're open to giving players on the rebound an opportunity. Kyle Lohse, 37, and Alfredo Simon, 34, could be low-risk free-agent possibilities. Cliff Lee, Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum all could get consideration.

3. Retaining Marcell Ozuna

The signing of Chen pretty much takes Ozuna off the trade market. Miami was open to moving the 25-year-old outfielder for a front-line starter. A reason the team was reluctant was because it would create a void in the outfield. The organization believes it is better with Ozuna in center field.

4. Bullpen help

If possible, the Marlins would like more bullpen depth. They were engaged in trade talks with the Reds for closer Aroldis Chapman, who ended up being dealt to the Yankees. Tyler Clippard remains on the free-agent market, but Miami doesn't appear to have strong interest. Maybe that will change if his options shrink.