- The Miami Marlins are serious about contending in the NL East. If signing slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a monster contract last month wasn't proof enough, a late flurry at the winter meetings sure made it clear.
Miami acquired righthander Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds yesterday morning for pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani and minor league catcher Chad Wallach, just a short nap after landing All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon in a flashy, seven-player trade with the Dodgers late Wednesday night.
"We want to build and we want to be competitive every year, and we want our team to play into October," said Mike Hill, Miami's president of baseball operations.
The Marlins gave up their top pitching prospect, lefthander Andrew Heaney, in the deal for Gordon and righthander Dan Haren.
Haren has indicated that he might retire rather than play for a team far from his family in Southern California, and Miami dealt their next best pitching prospect, DeSclafani, to provide rotation depth.
"I think the Latos deal has really insulated us from that, so if anything happens in that direction, we still have a formidable rotation," Hill said. "And if [Haren] stays, we have the player that we wanted."
The 27-year-old Latos is coming off an injury-plagued season. He made only 16 starts because of knee and elbow issues, going 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA. He will help bolster a Miami rotation that will be without 2013 rookie of the year Jose Fernandez, who is recovering from May elbow-reconstruction surgery, until the middle of 2015.
"That was the one thing we really wanted to do, is to make sure our rotation didn't have a drop-off and we remain strong until the return of Jose," Hill said.
The Marlins are adding pieces around Stanton, given a record $325 million, 13-year contract last month.
Gordon led the majors with 64 stolen bases and made his first All-Star team. He was surprised by the trade but is excited to play in front of family, including his dad, former major leaguer Tom Gordon.
He's especially excited to make noise on the bases for Stanton, the NL home run champ. Gordon got to know him while in Double A.
"He hit the farthest home run I think I've ever seen in my life," Gordon said. "It's going to be amazing to hit in front of him."
Hill said the Marlins aren't done yet. They're looking for a first baseman.