Busy Marlins still looking for upgrade at 3B

The thrifty Miami Marlins were nonetheless busy at this week’s

winter meetings, and they’re not done trying to upgrade an offense

that ranked a distant last in the majors.

”We’ve made tremendous strides in improving our offense and

improving our ability to win more games in 2014,” president of

baseball operations Mike Hill said Friday.

Miami signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first

baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones and infielder Rafael Furcal, who

were all free agents. The Marlins also acquired Brian Bogusevic

from the Chicago Cubs for Justin Ruggiano in a trade of

outfielders.

The signing of Jones made first baseman Logan Morrison

expendable, and he was traded to Seattle for right-hander Carter

Capps in a deal finalized Friday.

The Marlins remain in the market for a third baseman, and

they’re exploring options via trade and free agency.

”We’re focused to find that piece,” Hill said. ”We’re still

in search.”

Marlins third basemen this year combined for three homers and 44

RBIs, the lowest totals of any team at that position. Miami ranked

last in the majors in batting, slugging, on-base percentage, runs

and home runs, and the team lost 100 games.

Hill was pleased the Marlins made this week’s deals without

dipping into their deep reserve of young pitching talent. Instead,

they added pitching because the addition of Jones allowed them to

shop Morrison, who has been plagued by injuries the past two

years.

”We really haven’t seen a productive LoMo since the 2011

season,” Hill said. ”Ultimately we felt as a group that we needed

to upgrade. We felt Garrett Jones, a proven consistent producer,

was a better fit for us moving forward. There’s still a ton of

potential there with LoMo, but we wanted to go with a more proven,

consistent player.”

Capps’ fastball has hit 100 mph, but he had an ERA of 5.49 for

the Mariners this year and allowed 12 home runs in 59 innings. He

pitched better in 2012, and Hill said the Marlins believe they can

improve his command so he’ll play an important role in the bullpen

in 2014.

”We’ve seen a lot of him over the past two years,” Hill said.

”Our scouts identified something in his delivery that we will

address immediately that we think will allow him to return to the

dominant form we saw in 2012.”

Capps said that sounded good to him.

”Any advice I’d be more than happy to hear,” he said. ”That’s

great. Hopefully we can get it resolved and get back on the right

track.”

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