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Busy Marlins still looking for upgrade at 3B

AP - Sports
Busy Marlins still looking for upgrade at 3B
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MIAMI (AP) -- The thrifty Miami Marlins were nonetheless busy at this week's winter meetings, and they're not done trying to upgrade an offense that ranked a distant last in the majors.

''We've made tremendous strides in improving our offense and improving our ability to win more games in 2014,'' president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Friday.

Miami signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones and infielder Rafael Furcal, who were all free agents. The Marlins also acquired Brian Bogusevic from the Chicago Cubs for Justin Ruggiano in a trade of outfielders.

The signing of Jones made first baseman Logan Morrison expendable, and he was traded to Seattle for right-hander Carter Capps in a deal finalized Friday.

The Marlins remain in the market for a third baseman, and they're exploring options via trade and free agency.

''We're focused to find that piece,'' Hill said. ''We're still in search.''

Marlins third basemen this year combined for three homers and 44 RBIs, the lowest totals of any team at that position. Miami ranked last in the majors in batting, slugging, on-base percentage, runs and home runs, and the team lost 100 games.

Hill was pleased the Marlins made this week's deals without dipping into their deep reserve of young pitching talent. Instead, they added pitching because the addition of Jones allowed them to shop Morrison, who has been plagued by injuries the past two years.

''We really haven't seen a productive LoMo since the 2011 season,'' Hill said. ''Ultimately we felt as a group that we needed to upgrade. We felt Garrett Jones, a proven consistent producer, was a better fit for us moving forward. There's still a ton of potential there with LoMo, but we wanted to go with a more proven, consistent player.''

Capps' fastball has hit 100 mph, but he had an ERA of 5.49 for the Mariners this year and allowed 12 home runs in 59 innings. He pitched better in 2012, and Hill said the Marlins believe they can improve his command so he'll play an important role in the bullpen in 2014.

''We've seen a lot of him over the past two years,'' Hill said. ''Our scouts identified something in his delivery that we will address immediately that we think will allow him to return to the dominant form we saw in 2012.''

Capps said that sounded good to him.

''Any advice I'd be more than happy to hear,'' he said. ''That's great. Hopefully we can get it resolved and get back on the right track.''

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