The Marlins would still like to add a right-handed bat to pair with Justin Bour at first base and have had discussions about sluggers Chris Carter and Mark Reynolds, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). However, the Fish don’t have much in the way of extra financial resources at the moment and may need to get the right-handed bat they’re seeking on a non-roster invite. That would certainly seem to eliminate Carter from their list of possibilities, and it might make Reynolds difficult to lure in as well. The Marlins currently project to open the year with a $115MM payroll.
Carter, 30, was non-tendered to the surprise of some back in December despite the fact that he finished the 2016 season tied for the National League lead with 41 home runs. (Carter also led the NL in a much less flattering category, striking out 206 times in 644 plate appearances.) The role that Miami is seeking, from my vantage point, would be a tough sell for Carter anyhow, as he’d surely prefer more playing time than the short side of a platoon could offer. Despite his penchant for striking out and his unsightly .222 batting average, Carter did post a .321 on-base percentage and a .499 slugging percentage last year. His overall contributions at the plate were decidedly above the league average, as they have been on the whole dating back to the 2012 season.
The 33-year-old Reynolds is fresh off an impressive-looking .282/.356/.450 batting line, though he did post those numbers while playing his home games at Coors Field. The production was strong nonetheless, however, and Reynolds can also point to the fact that the 25.4 percent strikeout rate he posted last year was the lowest of his career. He did suffer a broken hamate bone which ended his season prematurely, though the injury didn’t require surgery. Reynolds had some uncharacteristic struggles against left-handed pitching in 2016 with the Rox, and isn’t a true lefty masher; rather, he’s had roughly even splits over the course of his big league career. Still, Reynolds’ lifetime .233/.346/.445 batting line against lefties would be an improvement over what the team can realistically expect for Bour, who has batted .223/.273/.291 in 110 career PAs against lefties.
If neither Carter nor Reynolds is in the Marlins’ financial wheelhouse, the team could look to potentially cheaper options that remain on the open market such as Dae-ho Lee and Jerry Sands. The 34-year-old Lee batted .261/.329/.446 in 173 PAs against southpaws last season, while Sands is a career .285/.335/.477 hitter when holding the platoon advantage.