Miami plans to be patient at Winter Meetings

Miami plans to be patient at Winter Meetings

MIAMI -- The mission remains the same, it's the method that promises to be different for the Marlins at the Winter Meetings, which begin on Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

Miami is in the market for front-line starting pitching, but the organization is taking a guarded approach to acquiring it. The team is showing patience, exploring possibilities that make sense.

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"The [front office] we've assembled, it's an incredibly knowledgeable group of people," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said during last month's General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. "So, from the outside, it may not be the name you think it should be, or the player you think it should be. But in our research, and what we've done, we feel 'this' player is the best fit for what we're trying to do to help us win the most games."

Miami's offseason tone is vastly different from a year ago. At the 2014 Winter Meetings in San Diego, the Marlins were at the epicenter of the action, swinging deals that netted right-handers Mat Latos and Dan Haren, and second baseman Dee Gordon.

For all the fanfare, though, the Marlins were among the season's biggest disappointments, finishing 71-91.

Haren and Latos were traded in July, and the team again is seeking starting pitchers. But cost matters.

Miami is working with a payroll projection of about $80 million, so the front office is canvassing the market for affordable starters.

The Marlins' most attractive trade chip appears to be outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who has already been linked to the Mariners, Phillies and Braves. To acquire a young starter such as Taijuan Walker (Seattle) or Shelby Miller (Atlanta), or a reliever such as Ken Giles (Philadelphia), Ozuna could be dealt.

Although the Marlins are open to trading Ozuna, they insist they will not accept a low-ball offer.

There also has been speculation that young ace Jose Fernandez could be moved. If he is indeed available, chances are we'll find out in Nashville.

For the most part, Miami is aiming to build on what it has.

"When you feel like you have a number of pieces in place, you want the right fit," Hill said. "That's really why we'll take our time. We'll be methodical. We'll be thoughtful. We'll try to make sure that whoever we bring is the best fit for what we're trying to do."

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2015 Winter Meetings from the Opryland Hotel, with the Network launching 35 hours of live coverage on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Fans can also catch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 11 a.m. ET and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.