Jones garnering interest on trade market
MIAMI — The Marlins have yet to officially announce the free agent signing of Michael Morse, but already the club has received calls from teams interested in Garrett Jones.
Morse’s arrival gives the Marlins some flexibility regarding Jones, who suddenly becomes available. Miami may decide to keep Jones, and use him as a left-handed bat off the bench, either at first base or in right field.
But most likely Jones will be dealt, and there are teams who have expressed interest, MLB.com has learned.
Jones is signed for $5 million in 2015, and it doubtful Miami would keep his allocation as a bench player. One reason is Justin Bour gives the club a left-handed hitting first base alternative.
Bour, who showed promise after being called up from Triple-A New Orleans in September, could be used as a lefty bat off the bench. Although Morse will start at first, he has dealt with injuries, and he likely would get periodic days off.
Also defensively, Morse could be a candidate to be replaced in the late innings if Miami has the lead. Bour is solid in the field, and could assume that role.
Morse’s two-year deal, MLB.com has learned, is in the $12 million range.
With Morse being Miami bound, the Marlins have addressed all of their primary offseason needs. They’ve added second baseman Dee Gordon, right-handers Mat Latos and Dan Haren and now Morse.
There is some uncertainty about Haren, because the right-hander is weighing whether to retire. Still, Miami is hopeful he will decide to pitch.
In terms of rounding out their roster, Miami is in the market for a fourth outfielder. They may have those candidates already headed to Spring Training. Non-roster invitees Austin Wates and Gole Gillespie each can play all three outfield spots, and may be the two frontrunners to win the job.
Jeff Baker becomes the primary pinch-hit option.
A lefty reliever may also be added to join Mike Dunn. Keep an eye on Andrew McKirahan, taken in the Rule 5 Draft off the Cubs’ roster. McKirahan will be given a strong look to make the club.
— Joe Frisaro