Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins, 1B Garrett Jones close to a deal

The Marlins aren’t on a wild spending binge, not like two years ago.

But, over the past several days, they've opened their wallets, signing two free agents — catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and veteran infielder Rafael Furcal — and spent Friday working on reeling in a third player, first baseman Garrett Jones.

Sources said Jones and the Marlins were close to hammering out a two-year deal that would pay him $7.75 million. If the two sides complete the deal, it would likely spell the end for Logan Morrison as a Marlin.

The Marlins have been listening to offers for Morrison, and talks could intensify next week at the Winter Meetings in Orlando.

A former Pirate, Jones, 32, is a career .254 hitter who has hit 20 or more home runs in three of the past five seasons, including a career-high 27 in 2012. But his numbers tailed off last season (15 home runs and a .233 average), and he's long struggled against left-handed pitching, He has a .193 career average against southpaws.

Two years ago this month the Marlins signed high-priced free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell as they prepared to move into their new ballpark. But the plan fizzled, the Marlins finished last, and all three were traded.

This time, the Marlins are taking a more moderate approach to their spending.

They awarded Saltalamacchia a three-year deal for $21 million, and agreed on a 1-year deal with Furcal for $3 million. Furcal did not play at all last season after undergoing right elbow ligament replacement surgery. But the Marlins feel he is healthy and intend to make him their second baseman.

Outside of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, the Marlins' infield could receive a whole new makeover if they proceed with plans to find a new third baseman.

Morrison could be used to acquire a third baseman, or perhaps a pitcher.

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