The list of first basemen and starting pitchers the Marlins have inquired about might be longer than that of the players at those positions they haven’t.
As the Winter Meetings entered their second day, a couple of new names surfaced — veteran first baseman Justin Morneau and Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon — as the Marlins continued to reach out for help to bolster the lineup.
“The focus is narrowing,” said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations, who declined to identify specific players the Marlins were looking at. “The field of candidates we are considering is narrowing. In situations where there are potential deals, the structure of the deals are becoming more defined.”
Hill said the Marlins have “cast a wide net” in trying to improve the roster.
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A couple of new players the Marlins are thought to be considering, though, surfaced Tuesday.
Morneau, the 33-year-old first baseman for the Rockies led the National League last season with a .319 average to go with 17 home runs, numbers that would represent an improvement over what Garrett Jones provided the Marlins last season.
But first the Marlins would have to find a deal that would entice Colorado to part with Morneau.
Morneau, a four-time All-Star and the 2006 American League MVP who is a former teammate of manager Mike Redmond with the Twins, is due to make $6.5million next season with a mutual option in 2016 for $9million.
Given the fact the Marlins offered free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche a two-year deal totaling $20million, Morneau’s salary shouldn’t give them pause.
The Marlins are also believed to have interest in Gordon.
The New York Post reported Tuesday that the Dodgers are willing to move Gordon, who led the majors in stolen bases with 64 and triples with 12 last season. Gordon hit .289 for the Dodgers, but his low on-base percentage (.326) for a leadoff hitter could be a concern.
But Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi refuted the report.
“He’s a cost-controlled All-Star second baseman,” Zaidi told reporters. “We are not dangling him. He is our second baseman.”
Working out a deal to acquire Gordon would be potentially costly, as the 26-year-old infielder has four arbitration years remaining and would be relatively inexpensive in 2015 (in the neighborhood of $2.5million to $3million).
Gordon might be an attractive option for the Marlins, though, in that batting him in the leadoff spot would allow Christian Yelich to drop to the No.2 hole, where the team has always felt he belonged.
While Hill would not say whether the Marlins have interest in Gordon, he acknowledged the team has always coveted players like him.
“I’ve said in the past that we like the speed component on our club,” Hill said. “I would like more. We’ve always liked the component, so we’re exploring those types of options.”
The Marlins are also continuing to pursue free agent starter Justin Masterson, who is reportedly receiving strong interest from a handful of teams.
There is a chance the Marlins could make multiple deals and/or signing before the meetings end Thursday.
“If it happens, you guys will think, ‘Wow, I never would have thought they would have done that,’” Hill said.
▪ The Marlins have signed eight players to minor-league deals with spring training invitations.
The list: left-handed pitchers Chris Narveson and Pat Urckfitz, right-handers Ryan Reid and Ryan Chaffee, catcher Jhonathan Solano, shortstop Reid Brignac, and outfielders Cole Gillespie and Kenny Wilson.
▪ Redmond was involved in his share of home-plate collisions during his 13 years as a major league catcher.
But it was a recent tennis match that left him limping.
The Marlins’ manager tore his Achilles tendon during a game of tennis a few days ago, and he’s scheduled for surgery on Friday.
Despite the injury, Redmond still showed up at the Winter Meetings, where he will fulfill his managerial duties Wednesday by speaking to the media.