12/02/12 1:23 PM ET
Marlins' re-tooling continues as Winter Meetings begin
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
With the Winter Meetings set to begin on Monday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the major question surrounding the franchise is: What's next?
Some of the remaining questions promise to be answered at the Meetings. Miami's brass is expected to gather at 4 p.m. ET on Monday in Nashville, and then outline their objectives for the week. And the Winter Meetings will wrap up with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.
Complete coverage of the Marlins will be available on www.marlins.com, which will feature stories, blogs and video interviews.
Unlike last year at Dallas, where the Marlins stole the show at the Winter Meetings by either signing or agreeing to terms with Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, this year's expectations are much more modest.
For one, the payroll has been drastically slashed, from around $100 million to $40 million. So don't look for Miami to be leading the charge on free agent slugger Josh Hamilton.
Look for the Marlins to pursue more modest free agents, like the versatile Ryan Raburn, who was recently released by the Tigers.
There promises to be speculation about All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, but the Marlins are not intending to move the 23-year-old.
Ricky Nolasco, projected as Miami's ace, may be the subject of trade talks. And there is a chance Yunel Escobar, acquired from Toronto, could be moved.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest envisions these Meetings to be more low-key.
"I think that last year in Dallas was really the exception," Beinfest said. "I think these Winter Meetings will be more of the way they've been -- at least [compared] to the past 22 of them that I've been to -- which is getting people together. Get your people into the lobby. Talk to other clubs. Kick around ideas. You may go with an objective or two, or a follow-up from calls that you had at the GM Meetings, and you work through those things."
Basically, the Winter Meetings will be four days of rumors and rumblings. Many ideas are presented and circulated, and very few come to fruition.
Much of the reshaping has already taken place, with 12 players from the 2012 Opening Day roster having already been traded. The biggest bombshell came on Nov. 19, when Miami shipped Josh Johnson, Buehrle, Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto in a 12-player deal.
A few weeks before that, Bell was dealt to the D-backs.
Ozzie Guillen was dismissed as manager and replaced by Mike Redmond, who will have his media session on Wednesday in Nashville.
Miami's recent trades have created some needs the club will explore filling in Nashville. If Raburn is signed, he provides an option to play either second or third base.
The club also is in the market for setup relievers, and perhaps a center fielder.