LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Greetings from the Winter Meetings.
The Marlins formally introduced Jarrod Saltalamacchia, their major free agent acquisition, and the catcher actually sounded genuine when he said he had no reservations about going from a World Series winner to a 100-game loser. Furthermore, Saltalamacchia said the Marlins didn't have to make a special "sales pitch" to convince him to sign. (Money always talks).
"The year before in Boston we had lost 93 games and went from last to first," Saltalamacchia said. "So there's no reason why we can't do it here. We've got a great corps of pitchers, and that's where it starts and ends, with pitching."
Saltalamacchia's two young daughters were outfitted in skirts designed in the Marlins colors.
-- Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said the Marlins have no concerns with Rafael Furcal’s surgically repaired right elbow. The 36-year-old infielder missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
“He had one of the best arms in baseball, and we have zero concerns about his arm,” Hill said of Furcal, who signed a one-year deal with Miami.
The Marlins intend to play Furcal at second base and put him at the top of the order.
“We felt like, at his age, moving him over to second could add a few more years to his career,” Hill said. “You put him at the top of your lineup, it lengthens your lineup out. It pushes (Christian) Yelich deeper into a run-producing spot in your lineup, and you start to set the table for the Yelich’s, (Giancarlo) Stanton’s, (Marcell) Ozuna’s and Saltalamacchia’s. And we’re still not done.”
-- The Marlins have not yet had to dip into their “inventory” -- their surplus of young pitching -- to acquire players.
“I didn’t think we would be able to do what we have done without moving inventory to this point,” Hill said. “To think that we filled holes that we’ve filled without touching our inventory is good for us, because as quickly as it’s a surplus, it can be all gone and then you’re in a tough position.”
-- The Orioles, Rays, Pirates and Brewers have all been named as potential trade targets for Morrison. There’s a very good chance the Marlins will deal Morrison to acquire a third baseman. But whether that player is an everyday player or a part-timer who platoons is something the team is still considering.
“There are internal candidates (Ed Lucas, Donovan Solano, Derek Dietrich), that paired appropriately, give you production at third base,” Hill said. “Right now there’s a universe of third basemen, and we’re still arguing through the merits of them.”
-- The Marlins will most likely wait until later in the offseason to bolster their bullpen with a veteran arm to replace Chad Qualls, who signed a two-year deal with the Astros, and Ryan Webb, who signed a two-year deal with the Orioles.