The Miami Marlins are continuing to add to their list of potential first baseman for the upcoming season. Earlier, Max Wildstein wrote about how the Marlins have interest in Atlanta Braves catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis, as well as Baltimore Orioles slugging-first baseman Chris Davis. However, Miami now is looking into the possibility of acquiring Oakland Athletics 1B/OF Brandon Moss or Boston Red Sox 1B/OF Allen Craig.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that Brandon Moss is a “potential trade candidate” as the Marlins look to upgrade at first. The 31-year old Moss is appealing for a number of reasons, as he is a left-handed power bat who is team controlled through the 2016 season. In 2014, Moss had a very strong first half—batting at a .268/.349/.530 clip with 21 home runs, resulting in a 148 wRC+ through 321 plate appearances. However, his second half did not compare—with a 75 wRC+, 4 home runs and a .173/.310/.274 slash in 216 PA. As Frisaro noted, the Marlins “covet players who accept roles, are solid in the clubhouse and have winning backgrounds”, which is likely why the Marlins are interested in Moss, who comes plays for an Oakland franchise where winning has been common-place his entire time there. Moss is projected to receive $7.1 million through arbitration this off-season by Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.
With Allen Craig, the logic is seemingly different. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald originally reported that Allen Craig was added to the Marlins list of potential trade targets:
Add Allen Craig to the list of first basemen the #marlins are looking at as a potential trade target.
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) November 27, 2014
Mark Polishuk of MLBTR noted that a trade of Craig to the Marlins would “clear out some of [the Red Sox] outfield surplus, while giving Miami a right-handed bat to platoon with Garrett Jones”. The 30-year old Craig, who battled a foot injury in 2014, batted to the tune of a .215/.279/.315 line over 505 PA. Over the course of the last 3 seasons, Craig has played 1883.1 at 1B and owns a 0.7 UZR in that span. Platooning Craig with Jones might be the least expensive trade option, as the Marlins might not have to give up players and prospects like Nathan Eovaldi, Brad Hand or Andrew Heaney to get back Craig, who is among a loaded Red Sox outfield.
The Marlins, who see the need to upgrade at first in order to provide offensive protection for Giancarlo Stanton, are very open in their pursuit for a first baseman. It was reported by the Miami Herald that they are “determined to upgrade” at first, and would need to “potentially [include] top prospect Andrew Heaney”. The Marlins also missed out on former free agent Adam LaRoche, reportedly making a 2 year/$20 million offer to the 35-year old first baseman, who signed with the Chicago White Sox for 2 years/$25 million last week).
While Miami appears to be aggressive, it will surely take a large price to get the type of first baseman it is looking for in return.