The Marlins aren’t known for free-agent splashes, though they could add least make a notable short-term move(s) this winter, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.. The Marlins are interested in first baseman Jose Abreu, according to Heyman, who adds they could also try to improve their outfield via the open market.
It has long appeared unlikely that Abreu would leave the White Sox, with whom he’s a franchise icon. But while the two sides have discussed a long-term contract, no deal has come to fruition yet. The soon-to-be 33-year-old Abreu has until Thursday to decide whether to accept the White Sox’s $17.8MM qualifying offer. Of course, the fact that Abreu has a QO hanging over him arguably makes it even less likely for a contract to come together with the Marlins. After all, the Marlins probably won’t contend over the one or two years they would presumably give to Abreu. Furthermore, adding him would cost the Marlins a significant amount of money (MLBTR projects a two-year, $28MM guarantee) and their third-highest draft pick in 2020.
There is an argument it would be illogical for the Marlins to splurge, at least by their standards, on Abreu. On the other hand, he’d give the club a credible bat at first base and enable the Fish to move Garrett Cooper to the outfield. Abreu’s a four-time 30-home run hitter coming off a season in which he slashed .284/.330/.503 with 33 HRs across 693 plate appearances. He’s also a revered veteran clubhouse presence, which could appeal to a Miami team with plenty of young players, and the fact that he hails from nearby Cuba may somewhat enliven the Marlins’ alienated fan base.
Co-owner Derek Jeter has said the Marlins need to get more fans in the seats after drawing the fewest in the majors in 2019. Signing Abreu (or another quality hitter, whether it’s someone like local product Nicholas Castellanos or ex-Marlin Marcell Ozuna) may help them accomplish that.