After locking up their star outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton, by signing him to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension, the Marlins might be making a push for the division title in the National League (NL) East. Certainly there are a lot of questions surrounding the extended contract, such as: will Stanton fulfill the entire contract; will his recent hit-by-pitch injury linger physically or emotionally; and, will the Miami Marlins spend the money necessary to retain the other young talent that surrounds Stanton, plus fill the needs in other areas through free agency or trades?
The second part of that last question may have been answered, at least in part by recent moves the Marlins have made in free agency and substantial trades. The Marlins made a trade with the Cincinnati Reds (my pal Jared Haftel’s favorite team) to bring in Mat Latos, a right-handed starting pitcher with proven success, and acquired Dan Haren, another right-handed pitcher from the Los Angeles Dodgers, though Haren has hinted at the possibility of retirement. Haren has stated he was not interested in pitching for anyone but the Dodgers or Angels to stay near his family.
The Dodgers also included in that trade a real gem, Dee Gordon, who was an All-Star last year with 64 stolen bases. Getting a versatile infielder, who can play second and shortstop is a coup in itself, but to get a speedster like Gordon (visions of Flash Gordon come in here). Imagine having that kind of speed on the bases, someone who moved himself into scoring position 64 times last year, hitting or walking in front of the big bats the Marlins have in Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich.
Additionally, the Marlins are rumored to be interested in adding Michael Morse through free agency with a $16 million, 2-year deal with incentives that could make it worth more, if Morse stays healthy. If signed, Morse will likely platoon at First with Garrett Jones, although he can fill-in in the outfield, as well. Morse not only adds the potential for Home Runs, but long line-drives into the spacious outfield to drive in Gordon and others, as well.
The other question is how do the Marlins retain the young talent they have after signing Stanton to that mega deal? According to CBS Sports the Marlins have as many as eight players they need to extend soon, guys like the young pitching phenom, Jose Fernandez, who will likely return from injury in June or July, as well as Yelich, Alvarez, Hechavarria, Cosart, Ozuna, Eovaldi, and their closer, Cishek.
If Stanton bounces back from being hit in the face with a pitch, the Marlins could contend in the NL East and maybe beyond.