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Marlins steadily add pieces to upgrade woeful offense

The SportsXchange

MIAMI --After another last-place finish in 2013, the Miami Marlins are making a concerted effort to bolster an offense that ranked at the bottom of Major League Baseball with a .231 team batting average, 95 home runs and 513 runs scored last season.

The Marlins made strides at the winter meetings by signing three players - catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rafael Furcal and first baseman Garrett Jones. Those aren't exactly top-shelve names in terms of proven production, but for Miami it can only be viewed as a boost.

"We lost 100 games, had one of the historically awful offenses in the game," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "What we had wasn't acceptable, and we had to fix it. There is still work to be done."

Furcal, 36, will switch from shortstop to play second base after missing all of last season with the St. Louis Cardinals following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

"He had one of the best arms in baseball, and we have zero concerns about his arm," Hill said.

Miami also traded for Seattle reliever Carter Capps, sending under-achieving first baseman Logan Morrison to the Mariners.

There's still a question mark at third base. The Marlins are hoping to find someone -- a free agent or a mix of internal candidates -- to plug the hole until Colin Moran, their first-round draft pick last year -- is ready, which could be in 2015.

"There are still some third-base options out there that we are exploring," Hill said. "I would say there are a handful of third basemen out there, via trade, that makes sense for us, that we're exploring."

As of now, Ed Lucas, Derek Dietrich and Donovan Solano are the main internal candidates at third base.

Meanwhile, signing Jones prompted the trade of Morrison, who battled injuries and never developed into the first baseman the Marlins had hoped.

"Any young, controllable piece we acquire is going to have some versatility, some flexibility to them," Hill said. "That's what plays in this league.

"If we need to make room for Moran, we can do something with this piece, so we can make room for Moran, if need be."
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