What’s next for Miami – invest for now or future?
MIAMI — It’s already been one of the busiest and potentially most productive offseasons the Marlins have enjoyed in years. Still, there and indications the club isn’t finished just yet.
We’re not talking about the obligatory signing of arbitration-eligible players and finding a fourth outfielder. We’re talking another significant move or two.
We do know the club has maintained interest in free agent James Shields. Some in the industry are rumbling Miami could be a sleeper squad in pursuit of Max Scherzer. I can flat out say, there is zero chance Miami is in on Scherzer.
For the sake of discussion, if Miami is willing to pay Shields, 33, a five-year deal worth, say, $90 million, is that a better investment than going after Yoan Moncada, the 19-year-old Cuban sensation?
This much I can say about Moncada. All the hype you hear about him is true. He’s a switch-hitter with power from both sides. He’s also a versatile athlete who can play five positions. He may profile in the infield, perhaps even at shortstop, and he plays the outfield.
Moncada’s price tag also could be in the $80 million range.
The Marlins also are monitoring the market on Moncada.
In recent years, Miami has come up short in the bidding of high-profile Cuban players. They made plays for Jose Abreu and Yeonis Cespedes, but in both cases, they underestimated the market.
Right now, teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers have been linked to Moncada. It’s probably a long shot Miami can get the deal done.
But keep this in mind. Center fielder Marcell Ozuna is a year away from being arbitration-eligible. Ozuna also is represented by Scott Boras, who traditionally stays away from contract extensions and allows his players to reach free agency.
If that is the case, Ozuna could move on in a few years. By then, Moncada could be an option to take over in center field.
The Marlins clearly are looking to win now. Shields would help them do that. But Moncada could be the type of impact player who can keep the team competitive for years to come.
Something to ponder.
— Joe Frisaro