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The Opener: Marlins, Signings, Free Agency

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With Spring Training creeping ever closer, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:

1. What’s next for the Marlins?

The Marlins swung a trade with the Twins over the weekend, parting ways with lefty reliever Steven Okert to acquire utilityman Nick Gordon from Minnesota. Gordon, 28, missed most of the 2023 season but slashed a solid .272/.316/.427 back in 2022 while splitting time between second base, shortstop, and the outfield for the Twins. The former first-rounder struggled at the plate in both 2021 and in an injury-ruined 2023 season. The addition of Gordon adds some versatility to a club that entered the offseason in need of additional talent at shortstop and in the outfield. Gordon has just 33 games at shortstop in the majors, and the Twins viewed him as a better fit in the outfield and at second base. Of Jon Berti’s 86 games started at short, 52 came last season. He handled himself well in part-time duty there, but he’s a 34-year-old utilityman with only 764 career innings at short. Given that, the club could be best served relying on Gordon as a member of the outfield mix and pursuing a free agent shortstop. They’ve been tied to names like Tim Anderson or Amed Rosario, among others.

2. Signings to be made official:

A pair of free agents found new homes over the weekend as catcher Yasmani Grandal landed with the Pirates while the Phillies reached an agreement with right-hander Spencer Turnbull. Both clubs have full 40-man rosters at this point in the winter and will need to make a corresponding move to clear space for the new arrivals. For the Pirates, that can be accomplished by simply waiting a few days until the 60-day injured list open upon the start of Spring Training and the club can utilize the roster spots of injured players such as Johan Oviedo and Endy Rodriguez. The Phillies have no obvious candidates for the IL, however, meaning they’ll likely need to designate a player for assignment or work out a trade of some sort to open up space on the 40-man for Turnbull.

3. Last minute deals in free agency?

Spring Training is a matter of days away for most clubs, and plenty of free agents remain on the open market. While the quartet of star free agents at the top of the market in Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Matt Chapman are unlikely to feel added pressure to sign with the start of camp looming, it’s possible some players lower on the free agent hierarchy could have extra incentive to find deals in order to enjoy a full spring with their new club. The likes of Brandon Belt, Adam Duvall, and Michael A. Taylor are among the mid-tier positional free agents who remain on the market, while the mid-tier pitching market includes names such as Michael Lorenzen, Mike Clevinger, and Hyun Jin Ryu.



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