The national media has indicated Marlins will shift focus to Fielder, while local beat writers have been informed that would be case.
Even after losing out on signing C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, who signed a mega-deal (10 years for $254 million), the Marlins came away with the exceptional triple play of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.
Instantly, Bell solidifies the bullpen and Reyes gives the Marlins a better spark plug to go alongside Bonifacio while patching up the vacancies (third base and center field).
Buehrle gives the Marlins not only a veteran presence but a durable, slick-fielding pitcher who might end up as team's No. 2 starter.
However, the Marlins are not done.
If Loria's aggressive offer to Wilson (six years for $98 million) was any indication, he wants to add one more piece. Preferably a starter but at this point, the free agency route is rather thin with aging, injury-prone or inconsistent choices (Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt, Hiroki Kuroda) left for grabs.
The Marlins will have to be creative in satisfying their needs for another starter. Here are five possible routes the team might explore later this offseason.
Engage In Bidding War?
The Marlins have not been linked to the soon-to-be Japanese import, Yu Darvish, but perhaps after losing out on Wilson they may change their mind.
Teams have until the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 14 to submit a bid for the 25-year-old, who is projected to fetch as high as $45-50 million.
Darvish could be had for nearly the same overall contract (including posting fee) the Marlins would have offered Wilson (roughly $100 million over six years), and Darvish is six years younger.
It's a risk.
Adding Darvish certainly would be interesting, but he would greatly impact the rotation and could end up being a better pitcher if in the NL than Matsuzaka, who pitched in the AL and more specifically, the AL East.
Target Rebuilding Team's Costly Aces?
Johan Santana (two years, $49 million) and Jake Peavy (one year, $17 million) are coming off injury-riddled seasons.
The Marlins could offer a relatively weak package, considering the amount they could be willing to eat up to allow for those teams to rebuild at a quicker pace.
However, this should only be a last resort or possible mid-season move if the Marlins should find themselves needing a starting pitcher at the deadline.
The physically talented Cespedes is expected to be a free agent soon as he is in the process of establishing residency in the Dominican Republic.
After courting a superstar in Albert Pujols to be an impact in many ways in the Latin community, the Marlins can still try to bring a star in the making in Cespedes to offset the loss of Pujols in the sweepstakes.
The Marlins will certainly have company in the pursuit of the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder, who many view as Raul Mondesi-like or a more powerful version of Cameron Maybin.
He has the ability to be a 30-30 guy but not a high on-base percentage guy.
Signing Cespedes does a few things for the Marlins, who could insert him in the outfield either in center or left and move Logan Morrison (who recently had knee surgery) to his natural position of first base.
This enables the Marlins to deal Gaby Sanchez in a package deal for a starting pitcher, which we will soon get to.
Cespedes adds intrigue and buzz. With the new ballpark in Little Havana, the Marlins will gain more South American fans, namely Cubans, who will flock to see what Cespedes brings to the table.
If he excels, the Marlins will see quite the bargain over what they would have given to Albert Pujols.
With all the hot names off the board, the former Milwaukee Brewers slugger is the biggest name left and one who could be quite the name in the middle of the lineup for the Marlins.
The Marlins have been attached to Fielder by several national media writers during the winter meetings expecting the team to make a run at him, considering they missed out on Pujols.
However, the local beat writers were told by the Marlins they don't expect to make a run at him, because he won't be a big a draw for the Hispanic community and questions arise about his body in committing a boatload of money to him.
Quite frankly, after what we have witnessed this offseason, I'd say the Marlins are still lurking out there for his services.
The Marlins probably do not want to appear interested. They don't want Boras to engage them in talks and therefore drive up his price.
Signing Fielder would be the better signing for the Marlins on the field, as he would make the lineup quite scary. Consider a lineup of Reyes, Bonifacio, Ramirez, Fielder, Stanton and Morrison to start off.
That would cause troubles for any starter, let alone managers, when they have to match up relievers with certain hitters.
However, making a commitment to Fielder would almost certainly keep Morrison in the outfield for the long term and Fielder and his below-average defense (where is Perry Hill when you need him?) at first base.
If I'm the Marlins, I offer him a five-year, $125 million contract which could set him up when he is 32 to get another big deal from an AL team as a designated hitter.
Now that the Marlins have missed out on C.J. Wilson, the team will place a greater emphasis on the trade market in order to get themselves one more quality starter.
The rotation currently features Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco. Here are some names the Marlins will look at.
Earlier this offseason, the Marlins called the Athletics on the availability of the local product. Reports stated the Athletics asked for either Mike Stanton or Logan Morrison.
That ended he conversation, as neither is available.
Gonzalez has already stated he wants to be here, telling the San Francisco Chronicle by phone, "It's good to be at home. My family and friends are here. I grew up in South Florida. There's great weather, a new stadium, a lot of positives."
The Athletics are in the same position the Marlins once were around six years ago, still trying to get a new stadium built, possibly by 2014-2015.
At the end, a package of Matt Dominguez, Gaby Sanchez (who they could flip for additional prospects), Marcell Ozuna, Chad James and Rob Rasmussen could bring Gonzalez here for a team that needs to build around players.
Like the Athletics, the Cubs are in a position to rebuild, but they would like to win now and will want a major league-ready package for Garza.
Garza would be the Marlins' No. 3 starter behind Johnson and Buehrle and would make the rotation as a whole way better.
Currently, Garza is arbitration-eligible as a Super Two and his price tag is expected to escalate to $8-9 million.
Davis could be used as a trade chip, considering a crowded but talented Rays rotation that also features David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, James Shields and Matt Moore.
The Marlins, if they signed either Cespedes or Fielder, could pursue a trade with the Rays for Davis, who has a team-friendly contract with options that carry it through 2017.
The Astros are all but likely to trade Rodriguez this offseason and continue the rebuilding process that they have undergone for the last couple seasons.
Rodriguez has three guaranteed years left at $36 million (option year becomes player option after a trade).
But he will be 33 next season, which has repelled most suitors away along with his price tag.
He would seem to be one of the latter options on the Marlins list, mainly because of price tag and whether he can be effective as he gets older.
The hot-headed pitcher is in limbo, as the Cubs are still pondering their next move with him. The Marlins, with Ozzie Guillen, seem like the best scenario for him to rebuild himself and his image.
However, this might be a possibility if the Marlins strike out with any aforementioned pitcher.
The Marlins could also turn to the free agent market to fill the voids in the rotation and bench.
Currently, the Marlins are looking for a corner infielder, as Greg Dobbs's return remains up in the air. They obviously could also use another starting pitcher.
Some veteran starting pitchers on the market include Jon Garland, Rich Harden, Livan Hernandez, Paul Maholm, Roy Oswalt and Javier Vazquez.
Vazquez has given no indication on his future but may be content retiring on a high note after his stellar second half finish.
I don't expect Roy Oswalt and Rich Harden to be a Marlin because of injury issues.
Jon Garland, who was with the White Sox (2004-2007), and Livan Hernandez (1997 World Series MVP) make the most sense, as Maholm might prove to be costly for his place in the rotation.
Dontrelle Willis could be another possibility for the Marlins if his price tag isn't so high.
As for the bench, Ivan Rodriguez is out there and in my opinion would be a solid add to the ballclub as a third catcher or pinch hitter.
Heck, the Marlins had Wes Helms for the majority of the season and he underperformed, so I'm sure they can carry a third catcher of his caliber on the team.
Omar Vizquel could be an influence on both Jose Reyes and especially Hanley Ramirez, and could be an option to consider for the ballclub so Ozzie isn't solely the Dr. Phil of the team.