The Marlins are "closing in" on a potential two-year deal with free agent first baseman Garrett Jones, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The deal will have important ramifications for a number of other players, Rosenthal explains, since it will mean end of the team's pursuit of Mike Napoli and a possible trade of their former first baseman Logan Morrison.
Jones saw time at first base and in right field last season as a member of the Pirates last season, hitting .233/.289/.419 in 440 plate appearances. The 32-year-old became a free agent on Monday after being non-tendered by the Pirates. In six seasons in the majors, he has a career .254/.316/.458 hitter. Defensively, he grades as below-average by advanced metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS).
The Marlins have been looking to upgrade their production at first base this winter after spending the 2013 seasons searching for an answer at the position with little success. Logan Morrison returned from 2012 knee surgery in the middle of the season and struggled, hitting .242/.333/.375 over 333 plate appearances. With Morrison absent or under-performing, Miami tried Casey Kotchman, Greg Dobbs, Joe Mahoney and Nick Green at first without finding a permanent solution. Overall Marlins first basemen hit a meager .230/.309/.333 for the season. While Jones is hardly a star, he should help bring some consistency and power to the position for Miami next season.
With the Marlins out of the picture, the market for Mike Napoli could move quickly. The Red Sox and Mariners have both expressed interest in the former catcher and with Jones and Justin Morneau off the table, other teams looking for a first baseman may key in on Napoli. If the Marlins do make Logan Morrison available in trade, he would draw interest from many of the same teams.