MIAMI — As trade rumors swirl, Logan Morrison on Friday was preparing to begin his offseason hitting program.
The 26-year-old first baseman is the subject of trade discussions as the Marlins are weighing their first base options.
According to the Miami Herald, the Marlins are discussing a two-year deal with free agent Garrett Jones, who was non-tendered by the Pirates earlier in the week.
Other reports have the Marlins in the mix for free agent Mike Napoli.
Morrison, meanwhile, is tending to his own business, which is getting in the best shape possible for Spring Training. He notes that whatever team he plays for in 2014, he will be honored.
Since at least the General Managers Meetings in November, the Marlins have listened to potential offers for Morrison.
The team may be looking to package Morrison for a third baseman.
One thing Morrison is certain about this offseason is he is healthy. He’s been actively working out since the season ended, doing plenty of cardio. On Friday, he began his hitting program, which he plans on doing daily.
“I’m going to be hitting every day,” Morrison told MLB.com on Friday. “I’ve been working out every day. All the [tests] I’ve been put through with my knee, I’ve passed with flying colors.”
Morrison is in Denver training with an instructor in an indoor facility. He’s also doing squatting exercises with weights for the first time in three years.
More than rumors, Morrison is training to be ready for Spring Training.
“I have no doubts in my mind that I will be back to where I need to be next year,” Morrison said. “It’s a process, like anything else. You’ve got to stick with it.”
In 2013, Morrison’s hitting mechanics changed a bit. He’s currently studying video on his swing.
“My style changed a lot last year, where my hands would go down, and stuff like that,” Morrison said. “We’re going to look at film. We’re going to discuss style, and we’re going to look at when I was successful in the big leagues, what I did, and how to be more consistent, and more successful. Taking what I know now, and try to implement that into the hitter I was.
“You don’t realize how much you need Spring Training, if you don’t have it. Look at Ryan Howard. Look at all the guys who don’t go through Spring Training, and try to come back midway through the year. They don’t have the years they should. That’s going to be good, having a full offseason and Spring Training. I’m excited about it.”
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The Marlins have interest in bringing Chris Coghlan back, but the 28-year-old is weighing all his options.
In a text messages to MLB.com on Wednesday night, Coghlan confirmed he is considering an opportunity to rejoin the Marlins. But he noted he has already been contacted by a number of other clubs.
“Right now, honestly, I’m just evaluating the numerous offers, with Miami being one of them,” Coghlan replied in a text. “[I] will decide on which team in the near future.”
Coghlan became a free agent on Monday when he was non-tendered by the Marlins.
The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year did not identify any other teams who have contacted him in recent days. Coghlan added there is a “good amount of interest.”
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill on Wednesday afternoon said on a conference call to beat reporters that the team would like to bring Coghlan back.
“We’re actually trying to re-sign Chris, to keep him in the organization,” Hill said.
A compensatory first-round pick in 2006, Coghlan batted .321 in ’09, the year he won top NL Rookie honors. But injuries have hampered him since he underwent left knee surgery in 2010. Last year, Coghlan was limited to 70 games with Miami, due to right calf and back ailments.
“He came through our system and was Rookie of the Year,” Hill said.
Had Coghlan been tendered, his role would have been as a reserve outfielder, who could play some third base.
“It would be a similar role, if he were to re-sign,” Hill said. “He would have to compete. If not, he would be prepared to go to Triple-A and help the club when that need arose.”
In his first year eligible for arbitration, Coghlan was projected to make about $1 million in ’14. Hill noted the Marlins would like the left-handed hitting outfielder back at a reduced cost.
Coghlan would not say if Miami was ready to present a big league contract, or bring him back on a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invitation.
If another team offers a big league deal, it is likely Coghlan will move on from Miami.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The Marlins on Monday non-tendered Chris Coghlan, but that doesn’t automatically mean the 28-year-old is done playing for the organization.
President of baseball operations Michael Hill told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that the Marlins have had discussions with Coghlan in hopes of signing him at a lower cost than his projected arbitration number.
Coghlan, the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year, is now a free agent. If he were to return to Miami it would be competing for a spot as a reserve outfielder.
The Marlins had no official announcement on catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Saltalamacchia reached agreement on a three-year, $21 million contract on Tuesday, pending completion of his physical. That process has not been finished.
Without mentioning Saltalamachia by name, Hill did note the Marlins could have an announcement in the next day or so.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI –- Pending a physical, the Marlins are on the verge of landing their biggest free agent acquisition in more than a year.
On Tuesday night, Miami came to terms with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a three-year, $21 million contract, according to an industry source.
The Marlins have yet to make an official announcement.
Negotiations accelerated in the last day, when it was revealed on Monday that Miami had an offer on the table for the 28-year-old catcher, who had been with the Red Sox since 2010.
The pending signing marks a homecoming for Saltalamacchia, and he fills one of Miami’s biggest needs.
The Marlins and Saltalamacchia certainly are a strong fit. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder attended Royal Palm Beach High School, which isn’t far from where Miami has Spring Training in Jupiter, Fla.
Miami had been in the market for an offensive-minded catcher with some power. Saltalamacchia is a switch-hitter coming off a solid season with Boston. He batted .273 with 14 homers and 65 RBIs for the World Series champs.
In parts of seven big league seasons, Saltalamacchia is a career .246 hitter with 78 homers and 275 RBIs.
Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, posted a career best 25 homers in 2012.
In each of the past two seasons, he has appeared in 121 games. His arrival means Jeff Mathis will handle backup catching duties, and Rob Brantly will likely open the season at Triple-A New Orleans.
With a modest overall payroll, the Marlins were considered a surprise team to go after a high-profile free agent. Now, they landed one of the top catchers available.
Miami is considering trading some of its young pitching depth for impact bats. In case of the catcher position, that is no longer the case.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The process continues in the Marlins’ pursuit of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Miami has strong interest, and has a multi-year offer is on the table. But as of late Tuesday afternoon, nothing was finalized. And nothing was imminent.
The Marlins and Twins are believed to be the two contenders after reports the Rangers were not interested.
The Red Sox have moved in another direction by signing A.J. Pierzynski.
Saltalamacchia, the 28-year-old catcher, is in the process of considering his options.
According to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com, the Marlins have a two-year offer with a club option for a third year on the table.
Financial terms and years have not been confirmed.
The Denver Post reported Saltalamacchia will be heading to the Marlins. At some point, that may occur, but nothing was imminent as of late Tuesday.
The Marlins are not expected to be major players in free agency, and signing a player to a multiyear deal right now is something the team is sorting out.
Clearly, the Marlins are hopeful of landing Saltalamacchia.
As of now, the team isn’t seriously looking at fallback options. That would change if they don’t sign Saltalamachia.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The Marlins have set their Spring Training schedule, which will get underway at Roger Dean Stadium on Feb. 26 against the University of Miami.
The Marlins will begin their 12th season at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.
In all, the Marlins will play 19 games at Roger Dean Stadium, a facility they share with the St. Louis Cardinals. Miami will be the home team in 16 games at the complex, and they will be the road team three times against St. Louis.
The schedule announced on Monday does not include two exhibitions the Marlins will play against the Yankees in Panama, as a tribute to recently retired closer Mariano Rivera. Those two games, tentatively set for March 14-15, have not officially been announced.
The Marlins will have split-squad games in Florida while half the team is in Panama.
SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE
Feb. 26 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 27 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 28 St. Louis at Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
March 1 ST. LOUIS (ss) JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 1 New York Mets (ss) at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
March 2 Washington at Viera 1:05 p.m.
March 3 HOUSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 4 MINNESOTA JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 5 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
March 6 BOSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 7 St. Louis at Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
March 8 Atlanta at Orlando 1:05 p.m.
March 9 DETROIT JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 10 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 p.m.
March 11 Boston at Fort Myers 1:05 p.m.
March 12 ATLANTA JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 13 Detroit at Lakeland 1:05 p.m.
March 14 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 7:05 p.m.
March 15 WASHINGTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 16 Minnesota at Fort Myers 1:05 p.m.
March 17 NEW YORK METS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 18 HOUSTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 19 OFF DAY
March 20 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 21 Houston at Kissimmee 1:05 p.m.
March 22 NEW YORK METS (ss) JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 22 Washington (ss) at Viera 1:05 p.m.
March 23 Detroit at Lakeland 1:05 p.m.
March 24 WASHINGTON JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 25 ST. LOUIS JUPITER 1:05 p.m.
March 26 Atlanta at Orlando 1:05 p.m.
March 27 St. Louis at Jupiter 1:05 p.m.
March 28 New York Yankees # at Tampa 7:05 p.m.
March 29 New York Yankees at Tampa 1:05 p.m.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The Marlins are willing to part with some of their surplus pitching in hopes of landing impact hitters, but they are not considering moving their No. 2 starter.
Nathan Eovaldi is not a trade option.
The Marlins see their top of the rotation being Jose Fernandez and Eovaldi, giving them two young, controllable power arms for years to come.
Acquired from the Dodgers for Hanley Ramirez in July of 2012, Eovaldi’s fastball reached as high as 100 mph this past season.
Power pitching is essential to being a serious contender, and Fernandez coupled with Eovaldi gives Miami a formidable top two starters in the National League East, which has its share of elite arms.
At the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, teams were told Eovaldi was not available.
Miami is looking for two or possibly three impact hitters.
By not listening on potential trades for Eovaldi, it raises questions if the Marlins will be able to secure a bat the caliber of Mark Trumbo.
To deal Trumbo, a 30 homer, 100 RBI threat, the Angels will be wanting in return at least a strong No. 2 starter. Eovaldi has the potential to be that.
Rather than moving Eovaldi, a more realistic trade piece appears to be Jacob Turner.
Heading into the GM Meetings, the Marlins made it clear that slugger Giancarlo Stanton was not available. Opposing teams quickly found out that was true, and very few serious inquires were made about Stanton. In the hotel lobby, names flow more freely.
As for first baseman Logan Morrison, the Marlins are open to listen.
If something makes sense, Morrison could be dealt.
The Marlins are weighing whether David Freese is a realistic fit at third base.
– Joe Frisaro
ORLANDO — If the Marlins sincerely hope to retain their core players long term, the organization must do a better job of creating a more stable environment.
Along with player turnover, there also has been sweeping changes in regards to managers, coaches and this season, the front office.
Around a young core, the organization is seeking to build for a better tomorrow.
A centerpiece in their plans is Giancarlo Stanton, eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Stanton, who recently turned 24, is three seasons away from being a free agent. And there is constant speculation that he may ultimately be traded.
In recent weeks, high ranking Miami officials stated Stanton isn’t going anywhere. New general manager Dan Jennings said publicly that the slugger is “unavailable.” And first-year president of baseball operations Michael Hill says the team is looking to build around Stanton.
Still, because of their track record, there is skepticism. At the General Managers Meetings, some are saying that if the price is right, Stanton could be moved.
Now, that remains highly doubtful, because the Marlins are in need of an offensive upgrade. Stanton simply is too difficult to replace.
He may also be tough to sign long-term. But money, obviously, talks.
The Marlins have noted they are weighing whether to approach Stanton about a multi-year deal.
One way to sell Stanton on staying in Miami for the foreseeable future is to develop some stability with the coaching staff.
Since Stanton was promoted to the big leagues at age 20 on June 8, 2010, he is about to work with his fourth different hitting coach. He’s also played for five different managers — Fredi Gonzalez, Edwin Rodriguez, Jack McKeon, Ozzie Guillen and Mike Redmond.
Some may technically say it is six, because for one game, Brandon Hyde managed the day Rodriguez resigned in June of 2011. McKeon was hired on an interim basis the next day.
When it comes directly to hitting, Stanton is repeatedly getting instruction for several different voices.
In Spring Training of 2010, before he was called up from Double-A, Stanton worked with John Mallee, who also coached him in the Minors. Prior to his big league debut, Mallee was dismissed and replaced by Eduardo Perez.
In 2013, Tino Martinez was the hitting coach, before he was let go and John Pierson stepped in on an interim basis.
The hitting coach in 2014 will be Frank Menechino, who spent the past few seasons in the Yankees system.
That’s five different messages on hitting in parts of five seasons.
To get Stanton to buy into the system, the organization needs to do a better job of not so frequently changing the message.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — The Marlins are not expected to be big spenders in the offseason, but the front office is confident that there are enough dollars available to upgrade the club.
During a conference call on Wednesday, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said he has been given a payroll range for 2014. A specific number has not been given.
Miami’s payroll was around $38 million in ’13, and it is believed to be in the same neighborhood for this season. Hill didn’t reveal the exact range.
But it sounds as if something makes sense, the front office will present an argument to team owner Jeffrey Loria.
“We have a range that we’re working on,” Hill said. “We haven’t been given a definitive number at this point, but we know what we need to do. We have a range of where we may be, and we will hit the ground running in Orlando.”
The Marlins will head into the General Managers Meetings in Orlando next week in the market for offensive improvement. Third base and catcher are two areas of need. But Hill noted the club will look to be creative in hopes of improving the offense.
Asked if the payroll ranges is enough to fill needs, Hill said: “I think we’re comfortable with the range that we have, and we can do what we need to do to improve the club. I think if there is something that we feel is mandatory for this club, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to go to Jeffrey and see if it is something that we can do.”
The Marlins are looking to build around Giancarlo Stanton, who is not available on the trade market. Miami is open to approaching Stanton and his agent, Joel Wolfe, about a multi-year contract. But they have not yet had any formal discussions.
Hill added the Marlins aren’t necessarily looking for power bats. Productive hitters are what the team’s in the market for, and the team is looking to find players who can take advantage of the spacious gaps at Marlins Park.
Hill also said the Marlins have already reached out to reliever Chad Qualls, who is now a free agent after he was effective in a setup role last season.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Much was made over Jose Fernandez’s predetermined innings limit, but little if any attention was given to how many innings some other Miami pitchers logged in 2013.
Tom Koehler, for instance, finished with 143 innings in 29 appearances, with 23 starts.
Telling about Koehler is his innings total was the sixth most among National League rookie starters. Just ahead of the right-hander? Fernandez, who finished fifth, with 172 2/3 innings.
Also of note, reliever A.J. Ramos threw 80 innings, the 11th most innings of any National League rookie.
Ramos also paced all NL rookie relievers, finishing ahead of Milwaukee’s Brandon Kintzler (77) and St. Louis’ Trevor Rosenthal (75 1/3).
Fernandez, a strong NL Rookie of the Year candidate, entered the year knowing he was on a strict innings count. Initially, the club set a range of 150-170. But the better Fernandez performed, and the less stressful innings he had, he was able to top the 170 plateau in his last start, which came on Sept. 11.
NL Rookies Innings Pitched
1) Hyun-jin Ryu (LAD) 192
2) Julio Teheran (ATL) 185 2/3
3) Wily Peralta (MIL) 183 1/3
4) Shelby Miller (STL) 173 1/3
5) Jose Fernandez (MIA) 172 2/3
6) Tom Koehler (MIA) 143
7) Gerrit Cole (PIT) 117 1/3
8) Tony Cingrani (CIN) 104 2/3
9) Jonathan Pettibone (PHI) 100 1/3
10) Zack Wheeler (NYM) 100
11) A.J. Ramos (MIA) 80
– Joe Frisaro