Miami Marlins: Who will grab the final bench spots?

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Editors Note: We’d like to introduce the newest face to the Marlin Maniac writing family, Michael Sonbeek, aka @DutchBeek on Twitter. Michael is a huge Marlins fan and should present the site with good insight moving forward.

The 2015 season is a week away and the Miami Marlins seem to have their rotation and lineup set. There is still questions on who will be filling what seems like the last two spots on the bench.

Three players we know who will be on the bench for sure are Jeff Mathis, Ichiro Suzuki, and Jeff Baker. All three have guaranteed MLB contracts.

Now, let’s meet the candidates for the final two spots on the bench. The players battling for the spots are Donovan Solano, Reid Brignac, Don Kelly and Jordany Valdespin

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Let’s start with Solano, he is the player most Marlins fans should be familiar with, he has been with the team since 2012 and has on and off been the starting 2nd baseman. He had spot starts due to injuries and trades in 2012. In 2013 he was named the starting 2nd baseman for Opening Day, after Rafael Furcal and Ed Lucas went down with injuries.

Solano’s starting role was taken away this off-season, when the Marlins acquired Dee Gordon from the Dodgers in a trade that involved prospect Andrew Heaney.

Solano has had a nice spring batting .324 with one home run and 3 RBIs and an OPS of .877. Solano is a career .264 hitter.

Reid Brignac, he is a 29-year-old short stop who has played for four teams in his career, most recently with the Phillies. During the off-season the Marlins signed Reid to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Brignac too got off to an impressive Spring with an average of .306 with no home runs, 7 RBIs and slating an OPS of .736. Entering spring it seemed like a long shot for him to make the team but a nice a Spring has him as one of the last remaining non roster invitees in camp.

In 81 at bats with the Phillies, he hit .222 with one home run and 10 RBIs. He is a career .222 hitter.

Don Kelly, he is a 31-year-old veteran who was also signed to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. Kelley is known for belting a solo home run off Ivan Nova in a decisive game 5 in the 2011 ALDS. He is also known for his versatility and his ability to play 6 (!) defensive positions.

Kelly spring numbers are decent, hitting .250 with 0 home runs and 4 RBIs and has a .647 OPS. He is a career .232 Major League hitter.

Jordany Valdespin is the last candidate for a bench spot. You probably know Valdespin for his time with the Mets and the controversy he was involved in with New York, whether it was him calling his manager inappropriate names or posing in an Instagram picture with a Marlins hat on while under contract with the Mets or him being caught for PEDs and serving a 50 game suspension.

Jordany thought about quitting after the suspension but the Marlins took a gamble on him and signed him to a Minor league deal last year. He spent time in the minors before getting called up and hitting .214 with 3 home runs. He is liked by the Marlins manager Mike Redmond for his versatility. This Spring he is hitting .378 with no home runs and 8 RBIs and a 1.020 OPS.

Reed Johnson was also a possibility for a bench spot and the 5th outfielder role but he was granted release today.

Based off springs numbers and career I would say Donovan Solano and Jordany Valdespin claim the last two spots. Both of them having a very nice Spring and both have prior experience with the team.

Who do you think deserves the final spots? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Next: Grades from Marlins Blowout Loss to Mets

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