With the season ending for twenty clubs on Sunday, it's time for offseason rumors to start flying. One team that may be aggressive this winter is the Marlins, according to a report from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Miami's management team is currently undergoing significant changes, as the organization searches for a new manager to replace Dan Jennings and shuffles its front office to accommodate Jennings' return from the field. Once the structural changes are made, the team's attention will turn to upgrading their roster.
According to Jackson, the Marlins are expected to be aggressive in the market for starting pitching and "like" top-tier free-agent starters Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Both Cueto and Leake are expected to command major contracts on the market and will likely be out of the Marlins' price range, "unless Jeffrey Loria is willing to spend a ton". Jackson also notes that the team is expected to discuss a wide range of less-expensive options.
Miami may also be looking to upgrade in center field, as Marcell Ozuna is considered a trade candidate and is thought to have fallen out of favor with Loria. Jackson notes that the Marlins would have interest in Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes at the position, but that financial constraints lessen the possibility of the sides working out a deal. Cespedes is seeking a six-year contract on the free agent market and has already been linked to the Mets, Braves, Giants and others in preliminary hot stove rumors.
Jackson also notes that the Marlins could upgrade at closer, meaning they could turn to the Nationals, who are expected to trade Drew Storen and/or Jonathan Papelbon. Miami had interest in Papelbon in trade talks with the Phillies last spring and may still have interest despite the closer's recent antics.