After losing 100 games, many would think the Miami Marlins would have weaknesses throughout its roster.
Believe it or not, the Marlins don't have as many holes as Swiss cheese.
Jose Fernandez, the 21-year-old phenom who won the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year award, is the ace of the Marlins young starting rotation. Following Fernandez (12-6 record, 2.19 ERA) are Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner. Moreover, the Marlins have Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Jose Urena, Brian Flynn and Anthony DeSclafani as prospects who could receive a promotion in the near future or be used as trade chips.
In the bullpen, Steve Cishek saved 34 games and had a 2.33 ERA as the team's closer. Bridging the gap between the Marlins starting pitchers to Cishek are Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb and A.J. Ramos. According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the Marlins have expressed an interest in re-signing reliever Chad Qualls (5-2 record, 2.61 ERA), but Qualls is weighing his options.
Although the Marlins desperately need more offense, the corner outfield spots should be locked up, as Christian Yelich will take over left field full-time while Giancarlo Stanton should man right field if he is not traded. Center field will go to Marcell Ozuna, who had a slash line of .265/.303/.389 with three home runs and 32 RBI in 275 at-bats before undergoing surgery in July to repair a ligament tear and avulsion fracture in his left thumb, or Jake Marisnick.
The Marlins' weaknesses are relegated to all five infield positions. If the Marlins could shore up those glaring holes, they could make a run at a .500 season in 2014. If nothing else, fixing those areas should help with the rebuilding program.
Baseball president of operations Michael Hill recently told the Miami Herald he's willing to trade the franchise's young starting pitchers for young hitters of equal talent. Hill's preference would be to acquire a hitter with proven major-league experience but also whom the team can control contractually for three or more years before the onset of free agency hits.
For today's exercise, we will look at who the Marlins can target, in order of the team's biggest weakness based on the projected starting player's 2013 WAR (wins above replacement), and what kind of trade the Marlins can make to quickly fix the issue.