The Marlins aren’t 24 hours removed from agreeing to a four-year, $53MM contract with free-agent outfielder Avisail Garcia, but MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports they’re still seeking offensive upgrades (all Twitter links). Outfielders appear the priority, with Heyman listing Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Chris Taylor and Eddie Rosario among the possible targets.
Miami already guaranteed $53MM to Garcia over the next four seasons — a hefty splash by their typically modest standards. It’d be a surprise to see them follow that up by signing any of Castellanos, Schwarber or Taylor, as all three are expected to top that four-year deal landed by Garcia. Castellanos is reported to be seeking a contract of as many as seven or eight years in length, though it seems likely he’ll ultimately settle in a bit shy of that mark. Even still, there’s a good chance he’ll double the Garcia total.
Schwarber and Taylor, meanwhile, could both land larger four- or even five-year deals than Garcia signed. Schwarber parlayed a huge season between Washington and Boston into a strong free-agent stock, while Taylor has long been a steady super-utility piece for the Dodgers, He’d give Miami an option in center field for at least the first season or two of the deal — something they very much crave — and he’d give them some cover in the infield as well. That could be particularly appealing to Miami after the Marlins saw each of Miguel Rojas, Jazz Chisholm and Brian Anderson miss significant time in 2021.
Rosario, 30, seems like a more viable fit in Miami than the other names on the list — at least from a price perspective. The longtime Twins outfielder was non-tendered by Minnesota last winter, signed a one-year deal in Cleveland and found himself headed to the Braves in what amounted to a deadline salary dump. Rosario took off in Atlanta, however, returning from the injured list to slash .271/.330/.573 in his final 106 plate appearances. His heater continued into the postseason, where he won NLCS MVP honors. Even with a quiet World Series, Rosario still posted a massive .383/.456/.617 slash in 68 playoff plate appearances.
Streaky play of that nature has been the norm throughout Rosario’s career. In general, he’s a free-swinging left fielder with plenty of power but a low walk rates and dwindling defensive ratings. Dating back to the 2017 season, Rosario is a .278/.315/.484 hitter, but those numbers have tailed off in recent years. Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating still peg Rosario as a decent left fielder, but not the standout defender he was in 2018. Statcast’s Outs Above Average, however, graded Rosario harshly and ranked him worst among all MLB outfielders (-18).
Both Castellanos and Taylor rejected qualifying offers, meaning they’d cost the Marlins their third-highest pick in next year’s draft. Schwarber and Rosario were ineligible to receive qualifying offers by virtue of being traded midseason (though only Schwarber would’ve commanded one).