What can you tell us about the Marlins new coaches? I remember Brett Butler as a player, but I don't know much about the hitting coach, Frank Menechino.
-- Gary L., Fort Lauderdale
Menechino, 42, was a middle infielder who played in parts of seven big league seasons from 1999-2005. He spent the past five years as a hitting coach in the Yankees' system, and he was highly recommended during the interview process.
Butler, 56, was a standout in 17 MLB seasons. A speedster, he was a terrific defensive outfielder, and he also was known as one of the best bunters of his era. Butler will coach third base and the outfielders. He also will instruct bunting and baserunning.
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Menechino takes on a big challenge, working with a young group of hitters who are continuing to learn on the job. Management, along with manager Mike Redmond and Menechino and staff, will be meeting before Spring Training to figure out a "Marlins mindset" on hitting.
The organization is in the process of putting together a broad approach to be adopted at all levels.
Are the Marlins really contenders in bidding for Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu? What is it going to take to sign him?
-- Victor G., Miami
A couple of days after being promoted to the team's general manager post, Dan Jennings was part of a Marlins' contingent that traveled to the Dominican Republic to attend Abreu's workout, which was heavily attended by MLB scouts.
Miami officials came away impressed. Abreu is big in stature, and he draws comparisons to former standout first baseman Andres Galarraga. Abreu put on a show in batting practice, and in a scrimmage he belted an opposite-field home run to right. The feeling is Abreu's power will play in spacious Marlins Park.
Along with the Marlins, the Giants and Rangers are among teams in the mix. The Giants, especially, are regarded as a serious contender.
Teams have already begun making bids on Abreu. The salary range being tossed around is between $45 million and $60 million, depending on total years of the deal. The bidding started the process, but like most major contracts, they take time to complete.
Is Giancarlo Stanton going to be the face of the franchise, or are the Marlins going to trade him?
-- Blaire T., Corals Gables, Fla.
Stanton is eligible for arbitration for the first time, and his salary will jump from $537,000 to somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million.
The front office has been considering offering Stanton a multiyear deal. Soon, we will find out if the Marlins are serious about locking up the slugger or simply signing him for 2014. What does seem certain is the club plans on keeping Stanton for next season.
On the last day of the season, new president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Stanton is a big piece of the team's plans. With that said, there figure to be plenty of rumors regarding Stanton after the World Series. All indications are the Marlins want to build around him.
Even if Stanton doesn't want to sign a multiyear deal, he isn't a free agent until after 2016. Miami could sign him on a season-to-season basis until then.
I enjoyed watching Jose Fernandez this season, and he is one of the most exciting pitchers I have seen in a long time. Do you think he will win the National League Rookie of the Year Award?
-- Manny D., Hallandale Beach, Fla.
In their history, the Marlins have had three Rookies of the Year -- Dontrelle Willis (2003), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Chris Coghlan (2009). Fernandez may have topped them all with his big season.
Consider, the team finished 62-100, and the Marlins were 18-10 in games started by Fernandez, who was 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA. Since June 1, you'd be hard pressed to find a better pitcher in the NL than Fernandez. In 18 starts during that span, Fernandez was 10-3, and his 1.50 ERA was the best in the league. Clayton Kershaw was second with a 1.82 ERA over the stretch.
The NL Rookie of the Year race appears to be coming down to Fernandez and Yasiel Puig. Remember, the votes were cast before the playoffs. It may hurt Fernandez that he was shut down about three weeks before the end of the season, and Puig may be rewarded for helping energize the Dodgers' remarkable second half.
Still, Fernandez gained enough national attention to make a strong case that he was the league's top and deserving rookie.
The offense really struggled. So why should we believe the Marlins will score more runs with mostly the same players? They need to make some changes.
-- Walter O., Naples, Fla.
First, there will be at least some changes. It's inevitable. As noted, the team is making a push for Cuban slugger Abreu. Right now, though, management is in the process of outlining its offseason strategy. The team is seeking more power, and that could come at either first or third base.
Aside from international talent like Abreu, I am not anticipating a major push for high-priced free agents. The strength of the organization is its pitching. The team may opt to trade some of its pitching in hopes of landing a power-bat.