The Marlins won the winter following the 2011 season. Last winter, they clearly did not, trading nearly every player of consequence on their team between the All-Star Break and Christmas. This winter, the Marlins seem to have more of a plan in place. They've got a young core, and there's really only one player on their team that will likely draw a lot of interest in the trade market.
The Marlins have two free agents of significance: outfielder Juan Pierre and third baseman Placido Polanco, neither of whom are very significant considering they both lost their jobs in the second half. If the Marlins *were* in the market for any free agents this offseason, which I really don't think they would be, I'd imagine they'd be looking at a catcher, a third baseman, and maybe a catcher. That's about all, really. This is a very young team that's trotting out young players nearly everywhere on the diamond.
Heh. After their disastrous spending spree two winters ago, Miami isn't going into the free agent market with an attitude that resembles 2011 at all. They're not going after Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli, or any player that will make as much money as either of those three. I think Jose Molina could be a fit to help nurture Miami's young pitching staff. The Marlins could also look at cheap, but not washed up, backstops like Geovany Soto, Dioner Navarro, or Kurt Suzuki.
There are slim pickings at the corner infield spots for the Marlins this winter. and if the club really wants to sign a free agent or two, they might need to settle for someone like Casey McGehee, Carlos Pena, or Wilson Betemit – in other words, a whole lot of nothing. Rolling with the injury-prone Logan Morrison at first and the inexperienced minor league veteran Ed Lucas at third might even be the more palatable option in comparison.
Miami's in a good spot here, because they possess the most desirable player on the trade market if they decide to make him available – right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton, who will turn 24 on Friday, will be entering his first year of arbitration this winter, and maybe that bump in salary could make him unappealing to Miami (even though they can most definitely afford it). With 117 homers before turning 24, Stanton could provide the team with an absolute mint worth of young talent.
But Stanton isn't the only trade chip that the Marlins have. Relievers Ryan Webb, Steve Cishek, and Mike Dunn all have at least two years of team control left and could be cashed in for a solid amount of talent given the lack of impact guys in the bullpen market this winter. The trio combined for 2.6 fWAR and a 2.65 ERA in 217 1/3 innings last year.
While the Marlins could look at prospects in trades, which is the norm for them, they could also look to upgrade their major league club by moving some of their young talent – specifically their pitching. Maybe the Angels would be interested in one or two of their relievers or a starter like Jacob Turner, Nate Eovaldi, or Henderson Alvarez in exchange for one (or two) of Hank Conger, Chris Iannetta, and Mark Trumbo. Perhaps some of those pitchers could interest the Padres in exchange for Yasmani Grandal, whose major league career has been marred by injuries and PEDs. I'm really just throwing stuff at the wall here – I doubt the Marlins *will* do something along those lines, but they most definitely *could*, and have in the past before.