MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins began addressing their issues in the infield Tuesday when the team signed free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million deal. But the Marlins still have plenty of holes to fill to become a contender.
Saltalamacchia is a career .246 hitter with 78 home runs and 275 RBI’s. Saltalamacchia played for the World Champion Boston Red Sox last year and hit .273 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI’s. The Marlins will move Jeff Mathis to backup catching duties and send Rob Brantly back to the minor leagues.
With Saltalamacchia now in the lineup, the Marlins are set at catcher and have plenty of young pitching to go around. The Marlins will use Jose Fernandez as the team’s number one starter, but also have Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, and Nathan Eovaldi to fill out the four-man rotation.
The Marlins are reportedly committed to Fernandez, Eovaldi, and star pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. The minor leaguer is a southpaw with a fastball in the low 90’s and has a career record in the minors of 9-3 with a 1.60 ERA in his first season.
Outside of those three pitchers, the Fish are reportedly ready to deal Alvarez or Turner to acquire more impact hitting.
In the outfield, the Marlins are counting on the young trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and either Jake Marisnick or Marcell Ozuna. Stanton had an off year in 2012, but has been a slugger in years past and Yelich showed plenty of promise in his first major league season.
The Marlins seem content with Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop, or possibly second bad, thanks to his defensive ability. Logan Morrison could man first base again this year, but past that, the Marlins need lots of help in the infield.
The Fish have a third-baseman prospect taken in last year’s amateur draft in Colin Moran. The left-handed hitting third baseman is expected to be an everyday third baseman when he hits the majors in the near-future. In his first 42 games in the minors, he’s hitting .299 with four home runs and 23 RBI’s.
The Marlins will reconvene in Jupiter in mid-February to begin their pursuit of a winning season.