Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill is still tinkering with his 2015 squad, and it's likely Friday's trade with the Yankees for infielder Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps won't be his last move.
Still, here's what Hill talked about Friday after introducing Dee Gordon, Mike Morse and Mat Latos among his newest acquisitions during a ceremony at Marlins Park. (Note: We're still waiting to talk to Hill about the Prado/Phelps trade).
"We love the moves we were able to make," Hill said. "We checked off a lot of boxes in terms of what our goals were and what we wanted to accomplish as we headed into the off-season. The priority was taking care of the big man and making sure he's a part of our future. We've done that. And then it was adding to this team.
"We felt like this team was good, but it wasn't where it needed to be. We needed to add more talent to get us over the hump and we felt like we needed more offense at first base. We felt like we needed a true four-hole hitter to hit behind the big man. And although it wasn't on the immediate priority list, as the meetings unfolded in San Diego it became more clearer we could access Dee Gordon. And I wanted Dee Gordon just because he's a game changer. His speed is a game changer. He fits on this ballclub. He fits in this ballpark and he sets our lineup up in a way where we can lengthen it, make it deeper. We can put Christian Yelich in a more run-producing spot. You put him on base in front of Big G and Michael Morse and Marcell Ozuna and I think you've created an offense that is very formidable."
Hill said getting two players with local high school connections in Morse (Davie Nova) and Latos (Coconut Creek) was "just really a bonus, a cherry on top."
Both players grew up going to Joe Robbie Stadium and following the Marlins as kids. Both were there for Charlie Hough's first pitch and have deep connections with former Marlins greats.
The Marlins brought Morse to Marlins Park for a recruiting tour before heading off to San Diego for the winter meetings.
"When we met with Mike I don't think I could put into words how excited he was for the opportunity to come back home," Hill said. "It's like, I've played for other teams, but deep down I'm a Marlins fan. You appreciate that. That he has a sense of the history of our franchise and what we've gone through. He's coming from the mountaintop. One thing that we discussed as we talked about him specifically was 'Well, he just won. How hungry is he going to be to do it again because he just won?' So a lot of our time with him was getting a feel for him and how motivated he was. And when I say we were excited when we left the meeting it's an understatement. You talk about a guy who has been to the mountaintop, but wants to do it again in his hometown and wants to be a part of raising that trophy again in South Florida, and will do everything in his power to make that happen. That resonated with both of us."
> Pitcher Dan Haren, acquired from the Dodgers, was invited to attend Friday's introductory press conference at Marlins Park but declined Hill said. Haren has said he wants to play on the West Coast and is still weighing retirement.
"I reached out to Dan and his representatives and respectful to his process he's still working through it," Hill said. "We're going to give him the time he needs. I just continue to stress to him this is a good team and we want you to be a part of it. I left it at that. He'll make his decision. We haven't put any timelines on it."
Hill said he loves the depth the Marlins have in their starting rotation -- even without Haren. "I think we have more than enough to create a formidable rotation and we know we've got a pretty good one on the mend that will be joining us at some point," he said. "We just want to be as strong as we can be coming out of the box. Our goal is to be one of 10 [playoff teams]."
> How is Giancarlo Stanton doing in his recovery since being hit by a pitch in his face? "He's good to go," Hill said. "He's working out. He's in the cage. He's getting ready for hopefully another MVP season. And I think he's happy."
> Hill said pitcher Jose Fernandez is following protocol and progressing the way he should following Tommy John surgery.
> Hill said there's been no progress made yet with extensions for young players Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria and Fernandez.
"We've been busy, really just focused on the winter meetings and trying to do the deals we were able consummate," Hill said. "We knew those discussions were exploratory and ongoing. They're our players, aren't going anywhere. There won't be something to report until we have something to report."