Search for third base help continues

MIAMI — Now what?

In recent days, the Marlins expressed interest in free agent third baseman Juan Uribe. But late Saturday afternoon, Uribe reached agreement on a two-year deal with the Dodgers, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

For more than a month the Marlins had kept close tabs on Uribe. But with the veteran off the board, the search continues for Miami.

Barring the club signing someone like Eric Chavez, a free agent who was with the D-backs last year, Miami may be facing a situation of trading some of its young pitching to address a position need.

Thus far, the organization has used free agency to fill needs at catcher (Jarrod Saltalamacchia), second base (Rafael Furcal) and first base (Garrett Jones).

Those moves meant Miami didn’t have to part with any of its high-end starting pitchers. The club has 11 pitchers who have either pitched in the big leagues or Double-A or above.

So there are plenty of candidates primed to pitch in the big leagues to choose from to pull off a trade for a third baseman.

There are some low-cost options on the market. The Miami Herald singles out the team is intrigued by Casey McGehee, who had a 27 home run season in Japan. Wilson Betemit is another possibility.

But both could be more non-roster invitee candidates.

If the Marlins do part with pitching depth, they will do so only if they can bring back a big league prospect under club control.

Will Middlebrooks could fit the mold, if the Red Sox make him available. Or perhaps the Cubs could be a match for Mike Olt.

An internal candidate who shouldn’t be overlooked is Derek Dietrich.

Dietrich made his big league debut for Miami in May, and he belted nine home runs before he was optioned to Double-A. While Dietrich played second last year, he is a candidate to play third base.

Keep in mind, now that Justin Ruggiano has been traded to the Cubs, among the Miami players returning from the ’13 squad, Dietrich has the second most home runs. Giancarlo Stanton paced the team with 24, while Ruggiano added 18.

Joe Frisaro

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