Sorry, Miami Marlins fans, but pinch hitter extraordinaire Reed Johnson won’t be your team’s (unnecessary) fifth outfielder in 2015.
Just in case you are legitimately bummed to be without Johnson’s .235/.266/.348 from last year, please remember the Marlins do have Ichiro Suzuki as their fourth outfielder. And that’s just awesome.
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Johnson was signed last month as insurance and depth, after the Marlins had already flown out to Japan to ink Ichiro, so his making the team out of Spring Training was already a massive long shot. He presumably declined an assignment to the minor leagues, citing the fact that he had been a staple in the big leagues since 2003. I’m sure another team will sign him to a minors deal at some point this year, as he clearly isn’t completely finished yet. But the extent at which he might contribute is questionable at this point of his career.
The 38-year-old hit .205/.225/.231 with a double in 40 plate appearances this spring.
Also on Monday morning, Miami optioned reliever Preston Claiborne to Triple-A New Orleans.
I had Claiborne as a sleeper to crack the Marlins crowded bullpen out of Spring Training, but I guess that’s not going to happen. He did pitch well this spring with a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings, allowing a home run while walking two and striking out six. In parts of two seasons with the New York Yankees Claiborne has pitched to a 3.79 ERA and 7.3 K/9 spanning 71.1 innings, all in relief.
There are now 34 players left in Marlins camp with Opening Day exactly one week away. The Marlins have to trim nine players in the next seven days, with primarily bench spots and bullpen arms the remaining question marks on the roster.
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