It's been a quiet offseason so far for the Marlins, who have yet to make so much as a ripple -- much less a splash -- with either a free agent signing or trade of any sort, big or small. But they are continuing to poke about for upgrades, and here are a couple of new names to add to the discussion, courtesy of Herald colleague Barry Jackson.
In his latest Buzz column, Jackson reports that the Marlins have made inquiries on catcher Dioner Navarro and starting pitcher Phil Hughes. Both are free agents.
That the Marlins are interested in Navarro comes as little surprise. It's no secret they're in the market for a catcher, and Navarro fits the bill of a backstop with some life to his bat. (Jose Fernandez's scolder, Brian McCann, was never in the conversation for the Marlins and inked a 5-year deal Saturday with the Yankees.)
Navarro (stats) is coming off a season in which he hit .300 in 89 games for the Cubs. But he's also sandwiched in a couple of sub-.200 seasons since his best year in 2008 when he played in 120 games for the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting .295. Though he's just 29, he hasn't appeared in as many as 100 games since '09. But the Marlins are looking for a part-timer, someone to share duties with Jeff Mathis.
Hughes (stats) is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. A fixture in the Yankees' rotation, Hughes is coming off a disappointing campaign in which he went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA for the Bronx Bombers. Prior to that, though, he had put up respectable numbers and whether the Marlins could land him cheaply is debatable. This much is known: the Marlins would like to infuse their young staff with a vet -- a "Kevin Slowey type," president of baseball operations Michael Hill told us at the G.M. meetings earlier this month.
One factor (beyond dollars) that Hughes might find appealing with the Marlins: their cavernous, pitcher-friendly ballpark. Hughes, a former first-round draft pick, has been prone to the long ball, especially at new Yankee Stadium, where he's given up 39 of his 59 home runs the past two seasons.