The Marlins went ahead and invested in the services of Placido Polanco for 3B last week. The competition will remain open at Spring Training with Kevin Kouzmanoff, Chris Coghlan, and Zack Cox all vying for more playing time there. Yet the Marlins still need to add more depth to their roster in particular, they need more pitching and more power.
There are a few free agent options available that could bode well in a situation where players may be looking to re-establish themselves. The problem is, these players come with a bit of a risk to them.
For example, take Delmon Young. His best season was in 2010 where he hit .298 with 21 HRs and 112 RBI. He had a .333 OBP and a .826 OPS that year, too. He is under 30, and can play the OF corner spots. He has a bit of a hot-head, which is one of the reasons why teams are passing on him as there was an altercation last year where he tackled someone in a disagreement and netted a 7 game suspension. Still, a little fire is a good thing when properly channeled, right? He hit 18 home runs last year for the Tigers and could provide some extra depth and pop in the OF. It just depends on what kind of a price tag he is looking for. Young is a former #1 pick overall and may be happy with a minor league deal at this point.
Vincente Padilla is a guy that makes most Marlin fans skin crawl. For years he was the ugly face of the Phillies starting pitching, constantly being attacked for purposely throwing at guys heads. Well, with 108 plunks since 2002, the accusations may not be all that far off. He had 56 appearances last year for the Red Sox out of the bullpen and was quite productive striking out 51 in 50 IP and only walking 15. Hitters hit .298 against him but he would provide an experienced, albeit morally questionable, voice in the bullpen for a year at least.
Yuniesky Betancourt is a puzzling player. He can play middle infield or even 3B, has a little pop to hit about 10-15 HRs, and can hit about .260-.280. He’s a serviceable guy to have around if you don’t have a long term plan and just turned 30. He has had two tours of duty with the Royals now and apparently was not too happy about his playing time in KC last year. If the Marlins were to take him on with a one year deal, they would have to assuredly get him to play in 120+ games to keep him happy and, more importantly, he would have to produce at a level that would make sense for the Marlins to play him. He could be another utility-type player getting time at SS, 2B, and even 3B. Not quite enough to make a dedicated starter, but one has to wonder why the Marlins chose Polanco over him given Betancourt’s age advantage. Plus he is Cuban and would probably love to play in Miami – his agent is also based in Miami and reportedly has 4 teams offering deals. We’ll see if the Marlins are one.
All of this also begs the question, why not bring Carlos Zambrano back? Of course he had Ozzie Guillen managing him last year and this helped keep him under wraps a bit. Sure, he may blow up in the dugout when his young team makes a mistake and he would blame his losses on his teammates. This may kill the clubhouse culture but then again, maybe another one year deal to help him re-establish himself may help, too.
All of these players would offer substantial chemistry risk as they have had problems elsewhere but on a team of young players, it may get overlooked, too. There are options out there for the Marlins to latch on to and, if they begin to prove themselves valuable assets, they could also be flipped to a contending team looking to make a run – if the Marlins are in contention themselves. Finding the write personality with the necessary talent trying to re-establish himself in the bigs may prove a valuable move for the Marlins for the 2013 season.