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The Marlins could use Michael Bourn's speed at the top of the Marlins' lineup, especially since Giancarlo Stanton will be the Marlins' only consistent source of power.
Assuming Morrison is healthy, this is what the Marlins' everyday lineup will probably look like:
LF Juan Pierre
2B Donovan Solano
C Rob Brantly
CF Justin Ruggiano
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
This lineup features four slap hitters (Pierre, Solano, Polanco and Hechavarria), a pair of guys with doubles-power (Brantly and Morrison), a soon-to-be 31-year-old who has to prove his breakout 2012 season was no fluke (Ruggiano), and Stanton. Essentially, this lineup scares nobody.
As the Sun-Sentinel's Juan Rodriguez tweeted, the best way for the Marlins to score runs this season is to manufacture them like Henry Ford's Model T, one of the best selling cars in history. Furthermore, we know cars today are fast and that is exactly what the Marlins should add to their lineup: speed, and plenty of it.
Based on the free agent landscape today, it just so happens center fielder Michael Bourn is still available. It also just so happens that of the eight Marlins projected to start on Opening Day, center field is the position where there is the most competition.
In the last four seasons, Bourn has been selected as an All-Star twice, won two Gold Gloves and led the National League in stolen bases for three consecutive years (2009-11). During that same span, he hit .280 with 166 extra-base hits and 216 stolen bases—the most among all players.
Yes, Bourn is looking for a mega-deal, but in the event this Scott Boras client can't get what he wants, he could sign a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $15 million and re-establish his value. While some might think this fantasy scenario might never happen, it could if the Marlins trade Nolasco and open a roster spot with $$$ earmarked for it. Keep in mind, the players union is keeping a close eye on the Marlins' spending habits, so any slashing of the payroll might be better served with the addition of a high-priced player.
Other landing spots for Bourn includes the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins, according to ESPN.com's Jim Bowden. Bowden said the Mariners and Cubs don't want to give up a draft pick to sign Bourn, while the Marlins and Twins don't want to commit to that type of money. But the lack of spending is what has the players union monitoring the Marlins.
Let's say the Marlins trade Nolasco without picking up a portion of the contract, and then sign Marcum and Bourn to one-year deals because they couldn't find the multi-year deal they sought. The worst-case scenario is the Marlins add $10 million in payroll and get a high-risk, high-reward prospect in return for Nolasco. The best-case scenario is the Marlins still add payroll, but receive a few more prospects in return after trading Bourn and Marcum at the July 31 trade deadline.
Plus, with these moves here is what the Marlins will look like on the field:
And on the mound:
RHP Jacob Turner
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Henderson Alvarez
P Wade LeBlanc/Tom Koehler/John Maine/Alex Sanabia/Brad Hand
With or without Nolasco, the rotation was nothing special to look at today. Instead, it will be predicated on the progress Turner, Eovaldi and Henderson makes.
As for the everyday lineup, Bourn and Pierre could be the speediest table-setters the Marlins have ever had, and this is a franchise that once had Pierre and Luis Castillo hitting in front of the likes of Pudge Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and Derrek Lee on their way to the 2003 World Series title.
If Bourn is not a viable option, the only other alternative on the market is Scott Podsednik, who will turn 37 two weeks before Opening Day. Last season, Podsednik hit .302 in 199 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox. He might come cheap since there's been a report saying Podsednik is expected to look for a minor league contract. In the six seasons Podsednik accumulated more than 500 at-bats (2003-06, 2009-10), he hit .284, averaged 156 hits and stole at least 30 bases (46.2 average) in each of those years.
Since the Marlins don't have the thunder to make opposing pitchers feel uncomfortable, having plenty of speed on the base paths could be the next-best solution.