When pitchers and catcher report for Spring Training early next week, a new season and new direction begins for the Miami Marlins.
Things look a bit different for the Miami Marlins as pitchers and catchers report on Tuesday. New uniforms and colors, check. New players added to the 40-man roster, check. A change behind the plate, with Jorge Alfaro replacing J.T. Realmuto, who was traded to Philadelphia, check.
The end of the offseason was busy for this organization, with the Marlins making what turned out to be an 11ith-hour trade with NL East rival Philadelphia. The team isn’t done making changes and could add another veteran arm to the bullpen while camp begins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.
The one thing we all know is baseball is back and at the moment, all 30 MLB teams have a chance to hoist the World Series title in celebration.
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The Marlins aren’t expected to compete for a playoff berth, but there is a chance this roster could produce more than 63 wins, as was the case last season. Manager Don Mattingly will once again attempt to mold this roster into a contender, which is now a little older with the addition of both Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker within the last two weeks.
There are a few things we now know as the team prepares for camp. First, Brian Anderson will start as the team’s everyday third baseman, the move means veteran Martin Prado will come off the bench to provide leadership. Also, with the addition of Walker to the 40-man roster, Garrett Cooper is now a contender to win the right-field job this spring.
"“In terms of the bigger picture, Walker and Granderson will provide leadership to an inexperienced roster,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “Miami is committed to allowing its young players to get their feet wet at the big league level.”"
There is still talk of the Marlins looking to add a veteran lefty to the pitching staff, one who can serve as a middle reliever
Walker and Peter O’Brien will handle the duties at first base. The outfield has two open slots with Lewis Brinson the starting centerfielder. Shortstop is still an open competition with both J.T. Riddle and Miguel Rojas part of a close battle. Mattingly has stated he does not plan to use a platoon system this season.
If anything, the Marlins 25-man roster is taking shape before camp even begins, which has its good and bad points.
There must be more run production and power from this lineup, something the team lost by trading away Realmuto.
All eyes will be on the arrival of Victor Mesa, the team’s prized international addition this offseason. While the outfielder is not expected to make the Big League roster until possible September, he will be the focal point of this organization’s growth this season.
If he starts at Double-A Jacksonville, it is just another solid prospect the Jumbo Shrimp (Miami’s Double-A affiliate) can boost on its roster.
There are other prospects the front office will have an eye on this summer but are still waiting for them to make their MLB arrival.
"“Outfielder Monte Harrison, second baseman Isan Diaz, and right-handers Nick Neidert and Jorge Guzman are among the most-touted prospects in the system,” Frisaro added. “It’s doubtful any of the four will make the Opening Day roster, but each is getting closer.”"