Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins in market to upgrade roster

Three weeks have passed since the Marlins made Giancarlo Stanton a rich man.

But they haven’t enriched either their lineup or starting rotation in the time since.

That could change in the coming days at the annual gathering of baseball’s wheelers and dealers at the Winter Meetings. The Marlins have cast a wide net in search of finding upgrades — either through trades or free agent signings — at first base and starting pitching.

They just haven’t found a deal to their liking yet.

The Marlins said there’s no need to panic.

“The offseason is fairly young,” said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. “There’s still time. There’s still a lot of available players out there, and I don’t think we would — if something made sense for us — I don’t think we we’d let it slip away.”

The Marlins have been identified with a large number of pitchers and first basemen since the Stanton signing. And Hill said if the Marlins wanted, they could pull the trigger on any number of trades or signings that have been offered.

But none, so far, have caught their fancy.

“The right deal has not presented itself,” Hill said. “From our standpoint, it’s just more of getting exactly what you want. I think we just want to make a smart decision. We’re not going to do anything we think is foolish.”

If the Marlins decide to go the trade route, they will more than likely give up young pitching. Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney have been offered up in trade discussions, sources have said.

“We can be selective because we have the assets,” Hill said, without identifying anyone specifically, of the Marlins’ coveted inventory of young arms. “We want to maximize the value of our assets and get the piece — or pieces — that help us the most.”

Hill said that the Marlins have looked at “many” possible acquisitions.

“I don’t think we’ve overlooked anything,” he said. “We’ve dipped our toe into every area we think could help us improve. But I wouldn’t say anything is imminent at the moment.”

That could change quickly over the next 72 hours, however, as the Marlins hold meetings with agents representing several of their potential free agent targets and talk trade with the other 29 teams on hand at the meetings.

“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to do some things to help the club while we’re here,” Hill said.

A TRADE BUST

Another Marlins trade with the Detroit Tigers can now be written off as a complete bust.

Catcher Rob Brantly, who was obtained from Detroit in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade-deadline deal in 2012, was claimed off waivers on Monday by the Chicago White Sox.

That means all three players the Marlins acquired in that midseason Detroit deal are no longer in the organization. Pitcher Jacob Turner was dealt to the Cubs late last season, and pitcher Brian Flynn was shipped to Kansas City in the trade for reliever Aaron Crow last month.

“I guess you chalk that one up as it could have been better,” Hill said of the 2012 trade with the Tigers. “At the time it happened, we had a pending free agent [Sanchez] who was walking out the door, so we tried to construct a deal to get as much value as we could.”

When the Marlins acquired Brantly, they were counting on him to become their catcher of the future. But it soon became apparent that wasn’t going to be the case. Although Brantly was the Marlins’ Opening Day catcher in 2013, he hit only .211 and struggled defensively. He spent all of last season at Triple A New Orleans.

Brantly became expendable because of the development of in-house catchers J.T. Realmuto and Austin Barnes. The Marlins also signed Jhonatan Solano, the brother of second baseman Donovan Solano, to a minor-league deal.

“We really like him as a defensive catcher,” Hill said of Jhonatan Solano, who has some big-league experience with the Nationals. “And once we were able to sign him, it sort of freed up Brantly.”

The move frees up a spot on the Marlins’ 40-man roster should they decide to select someone in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.

“We’re not sure if we’ll be active in the Rule 5,” Hill said. “But we at least wanted the opportunity.”

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