After non-tender, Marlins reach out to Coghlan
Miami may bring back OF; when catcher situation finalized, club to focus on 3B, reliever
MIAMI -- Chris Coghlan's tenure with the Marlins may not be over just yet.
In a text message to MLB.com on Wednesday night, Coghlan confirmed he is considering an opportunity to rejoin the Marlins. But he noted he has already been contacted by a number of other clubs.
"Right now, honestly, I'm just evaluating the numerous offers, with Miami being one of them," Coghlan replied. "[I] will decide on which team in the near future."
President of baseball operations Michael Hill on Wednesday said the Marlins are hoping the 28-year-old will agree to return to Miami.
On Monday, Coghlan was non-tendered, meaning he is now a free agent. If Coghlan is agreeable, the Marlins would like to bring him back at a lower dollar figure than he was projected to make in his first year of arbitration.
"We're actually trying to re-sign Chris, to keep him in the organization," Hill said.
A compensatory first-round pick in 2006, Coghlan won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2009. But injuries have hampered him since he underwent left knee surgery in 2010. Last year, Coghlan was limited to 70 games with Miami, due to right calf and back ailments.
"He came through our system and was Rookie of the Year," Hill said.
Had Coghlan been tendered, his role would have been as a reserve outfielder, who could play some third base.
"It would be a similar role, if he were to re-sign," Hill said. "He would have to compete. If not, he would be prepared to go to Triple-A and help the club when that need arose."
Seeing if Coghlan is interested in returning is one order of business the Marlins are tending to during what is becoming the most frantic part of the offseason.
With the Winter Meetings set to begin on Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the club still must finalize its catcher situation.
On Tuesday night, Miami reached a tentative agreement on a three-year, $21 million contract with free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The deal is pending the completion of a physical. As of late Wednesday afternoon, nothing was official.
Hill didn't mention Saltalamacchia by name, but speaking generally, he noted the Marlins could make an announcement soon.
"That could be coming to a head in the next day or so," Hill said.
When official, Saltalamacchia's signing promises to be the biggest financial transaction by Miami this offseason. Saltalamacchia, 28, had been with the Red Sox since 2010. A switch-hitter with some power, the veteran is coming off a World Series championship season.
Barring anything unforeseen on the Saltalamacchia front, the Marlins' next major order of business is addressing third base.
"That will be the focus as we head into Orlando and the Winter Meetings next week," Hill said. "We're still very encouraged that we will be able to upgrade the roster."
The Marlins are working within the confines of a modest budget, expected to be in the neighborhood of $45 million. So they aren't expected to make a huge free-agent acquisition.
Miami is seeking trade options. The organization has pitching depth, but Hill added the team doesn't want to turn "a strength into a weakness."
The club also is in the market for a veteran reliever. A possibility is bringing back Chad Qualls, a free agent, who is open to coming back. But the right-hander also wants to test the market.
With the Marlins, money is a factor. It was a leading reason why Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb were non-tendered on Monday.
Coghlan was projected to make about $1 million in arbitration, and Webb is entering his second arbitration season. The right-hander earned $975,000 last year, and he was looking at making roughly $1.5 million in '14.
"As we looked at our allocation of dollars and the roles that each would fit on our club, we thought it would better serve the organization to non-tender both and to use their dollars elsewhere in helping put the ballclub together," Hill said. "Both had been great Marlins. I spoke with both players. Both were extremely professional and thankful, and I was thankful to them for their time with us."