Inbox: How can the Marlins upgrade their roster?
Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers Marlins fans' questions
Why don't the Marlins bring Dan Uggla back? The Braves will pick up most of the salary. Uggla will give additional power at second base. Donovan Solano could be moved to third until Colin Moran is ready to take over at third base in 2015. -- Wayne B., Leicester, UK.
Because Uggla broke in with the Marlins, and he is the franchise's all-time home run leader, a possible trade makes sense. A Marlin from 2006-10, Uggla's 154 home runs are a club record.
From what I'm hearing, the Braves certainly will entertain shopping Uggla, who turns 34 in March.
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If Atlanta can get another team to pick up $6 million of the $26 million Uggla is owed the next two seasons, they'd probably make a deal.
Perhaps to get another club to pick up more of the contract, Atlanta would throw in a prospect. So if the Marlins wanted to do some sort of package, they might be able to get Uggla and another player.
It's no secret the Marlins are searching for a power bat, and there is a limited amount on the market. So bringing back Uggla may be worth the risk, even though he appears to be on the decline.
The former All-Star second baseman batted .179 with 22 homers and 55 RBIs in 136 games this year. He did have lasik eye surgery, which was a factor in his performance. And it raises questions if vision will continue to be an issue.
In 2010, his last year with the Marlins, Uggla batted .287 with 33 homers and 105 RBIs.
After being dealt to the Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn, Uggla hit a career-high 36 homers, and he drove in 82 runs in 2011. But he batted .233 that season.
There was a dramatic decline in 2012, when he batted .220 with 19 home runs and 78 RBIs.
In his last two seasons, Uggla is batting .201 with a .330 on-base and .374 slugging percentage. Over the two-year span, he has 41 home runs and 133 RBIs. But he has struck out 339 times in 971 at-bats.
Maybe a return to his old team, and being in a situation where he can help a young club, will rejuvenate his career.
Now that the Marlins are out of the Jose Abreu sweepstakes, will the front office consider pulling a trade to acquire a first baseman? If that is the case, which players could be good options for Miami? -- Rodrigo L., Santiago, Chile.
Regarding Abreu, who will be heading to the White Sox, the Marlins felt his price tag would be between $45 million and $60 million, depending on the years of the deal. Chicago offered $68 million over six, so Miami bowed out once the bidding exceeded $60 million.
Because Abreu was a first baseman doesn't necessarily mean the Marlins will be looking at first base. Logan Morrison is the incumbent, and the Marlins hope that with him being fully healthy from the start of Spring Training, he will get him on track.
The Marlins liked Abreu and pushed hard to get him, and he happened to be a first baseman. Third base is a potential spot to add a power bat, or perhaps center field and catcher, or even second base.
Finding players who are controllable in terms of service time would be a high priority.
The Marlins have pitching depth, and some of those pieces may be used to make a trade for an impact bat.
With Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez in place (at least for next year), what additional positions do you see being filled with veterans? P.S. Brett Butler is going to be an excellent addition. He brings a set of new eyes and ideas to our young club. I truly look forward to a tremendous season. -- Melinda R., Fleming Island, Fla.
Having Stanton in the middle of the order and Fernandez as the ace gives two tremendous pieces to build around. Remember in 2009, Josh Johnson was dominant and Hanley Ramirez won the batting title. That team won 87 games, largely because of those two mainstays.
So if Stanton bounces back and shows what he's capable of and Fernandez keeps maturing, those two offer plenty of reasons for optimism.
Where additions can be brought in have been well documented -- third base and catcher. Second base also could be addressed.
If something makes sense at another position, like center field, then you explore all your options.
Will the Marlins sign Giancarlo Stanton long term or trade him? -- Codey R., St. Louis.
Maybe neither. Bottom line is Stanton is heading into arbitration for the first time, and he isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season. So that's three more years the club has him under control. The MLB Trade Rumors site uses a model to project salary arbitration figures for all qualifying players, and it projects Stanton to make $4.8 million. Obviously, that is just a projection. But even if it is a bit low, money clearly isn't an issue in signing Stanton for 2014.
Once the Hot Stove season gets underway after the World Series, there surely will be plenty of speculation surrounding Stanton. We will see how seriously the Marlins are about offering a long-term deal, or if Stanton will accept.
Every public comment made by the club regarding Stanton is that he is a big part of their plans for 2014.
What is the thought process going into Spring Training about competition for rotation spots? The current starting rotation was amazing all year, so it is going to be hard to crack. -- Zack P., Miami Beach.
As you noted, the rotation was the strength of the team. Fernandez is a true ace, an All-Star and a building block. Nathan Eovaldi has to get more consistent. If he does, he is a legitimate No. 2 starter. Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter in the final game of the season, so we saw what he is capable of. Jacob Turner was up and down, and he still needs to polish up his mechanics. Tom Koehler, when he throws strikes, is a strong option as either a fifth starter or reliever.
Brad Hand and Brian Flynn, two lefties, each gained some experience as September callups. And Kevin Slowey has agreed to return.
The prospects include Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley, three more lefties. Anthony DeSclafani was the organizational Minor League pitcher of the year.
So you have a lot of depth and quality throughout the system.
I see Spring Training shaping up as being highly competitive. Aside from Fernandez, Eovaldi and Alvarez, I'm not sure Turner and Koehler are considered locks.
Health always is a factor in Spring Training. Heaney is the pitcher I'm most curious to see. The first-round pick in 2012 may be a top-of-the-rotation talent. The question is whether he is ready on Opening Day or sometime during the season.
Heading into Spring Training, I give the advantage to the incumbents to hold their rotation spots, unless injuries or performance prove otherwise.