With their signings of Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa now complete, the Marlins could be done making significant moves this offseason. Here’s the latest from out of Miami, courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel’s Tim Healey:
- The Ziegler and Tazawa signings, and the subsequent DFA of Elvis Araujo when the Ziegler deal became official, leave the Marlins’ bullpen heavily right-handed, with Hunter Cervenka as the only lefty reliever remaining on the team’s 40-man. But president of baseball operations Michael Hill doesn’t sound concerned about that. “Handedness didn’t come into play as much as finding the highest quality [reliever],” Hill says. Even Cervenka is not guaranteed a spot in the bullpen, with Hill saying Cervenka will compete for a spot in camp. Teams typically carry at least one lefty reliever, although not carrying any is hardly unprecedented, since many righties can be effective against opposite-handed batters — the 2004 Angels, for example, had perhaps baseball’s best bullpen that year despite receiving just two total innings of lefty relief. And Tazawa, for example, has been quite effective against lefties in his career.
- The bullpen has become increasingly crowded, and the Marlins have discussed whether to go with a seven-man bullpen or expand it to eight.
- The Marlins also are not overly concerned about finding a platoon partner for lefty-hitting first baseman Justin Bour, Hill says. “There’s not that clear-cut complement at first base, but I think in the growth and maturation of Justin Bour,” Hill says. “[Manager Don Mattingly has] talked about trying to challenge him more and expose him more to left-handed pitching.” The 28-year-old Bour has hit .223/.273/.291 in 103 career plate appearances against southpaws. The team could, however, give righty-hitting catcher J.T. Realmuto occasional plate appearances at first, potentially giving the Marlins the chance to sit Bour against some lefties. “If there is a way to deepen our bench, we’ll look at it,” says Hill. “But I think as we sit right now, we would be comfortable as we are currently situated.”