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Hot corner remains hot on Marlins' minds

Hot corner remains hot on Marlins' minds

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Hot corner remains hot on Marlins' minds

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Third base was atop the Marlins' shopping list heading into the Winter Meetings, and it remains so as the event winds down.

Miami has been among the more active teams at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. On Tuesday, the club announced the signing of free-agent first baseman Garrett Jones to a two-year deal.

On Wednesday, the Marlins reached agreement on a trade that will send first baseman Logan Morrison to the Mariners for reliever Carter Capps. The deal is expected to be announced once the medical records and all the paperwork are finalized.

Finding a match for Morrison took up so much time for the front office. Still, the club continues to survey all third-base opportunities -- either through free agency or trades.

"There are still some third-base options out there that we are exploring," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "I would say there are a handful of third basemen out there, via trade, that makes sense for us, that we're exploring."

Since last Friday, the Marlins have made four major moves. Through free agency, they've added Jones, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and second baseman Rafael Furcal. And they're on the verge of announcing the Morrison trade.

In each of those deals, the organization has avoided parting with any of its starting pitching depth. At the start of the offseason, it was believed the Marlins would move some pitching in hopes of filling offensive needs.

By retaining its inventory, the club remains in position to part with at least one arm to acquire a third baseman.

If the Marlins go that route, they will do so looking for a controllable, young player who is big league ready. They are not looking to make prospect trades. They want a third baseman ready to contribute in 2014.

Another factor is that player would also have to be versatile enough to slide to another position when Colin Moran is ready to join the big leagues.

Moran, the sixth overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, could be a year or so away from being ready.

"Any young, controllable piece we acquire is going to have some versatility, some flexibility to them," Hill said. "That's what plays in this league.

"If we need to make room for Moran, we can do something with this piece, so we can make room for Moran, if need be."

Veteran free agents on the market include Eric Chavez and Juan Uribe.

Miami also is measuring trade interest for outfielder Justin Ruggiano.

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

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