The Miami Marlins have more decisions to make about their roster before Spring Training.
According to Christina De Nicola of MLB.com, “The Marlins made minor roster moves on Wednesday afternoon, outrighting catcher Tyler Heineman and right-hander Héctor Noesi to Triple-A New Orleans. The Reds also claimed left-hander Josh D. Smith off waivers. Miami’s 40-man roster is at 37.”
That opens the door for the front office to make more moves to strengthen the roster. It could also mean there are more moves the organization will make after the World Series as veterans become free agents and the roster is trimmed even more.
With the Marlins, it’s a good bet there will be even more turnover as Derek Jeter and his staff tries to find the right combination of talent to open the season in late March.
“The 30-year-old Smith, whom the Marlins claimed off waivers from the Indians on Sept. 14, allowed four runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings spanning six outings,” Di Nicola writes. “Miami has no shortage of lefty relief options on the 40-man roster in Adam Conley, Jarlin García, Brian Moran, José Quijada, and Wei-Yin Chen.”
It should make for an interesting Spring in Jupiter, with many arms competing for a spot in the pen. Left-handed pitching has been a concern for this franchise in the past, but Jeter has made sure there are arms at the ready if needed and that there is depth in the minor league system.
It also means the Marlins may have to make decisions on which pitchers and other roster players to keep on their 40-man roster or to designate them for assignment.
By definition, a player who is “Designated for Assignment,” is a contractual term used in Major League Baseball. A player who is designated for assignment is immediately removed from the team’s 40-man roster, after which the team must choose from these options: Place the player on waivers, trade the player, release the player, or outright the player from the 40-man roster into the Minor Leagues.
There are a few candidates on the Marlins current roster who could fit in that category before or during the start of Spring Training.
Adam Conley – After a dismal season and a failure to secure the closer’s role out of Spring Training in Spring Training last season, it was all downhill from there.
Conley posted a 2-11 with a 6.53 ERA. He worked well as a step-up man in 2018, but once he was offered a chance to close games by committee, he did not show enough dominance from the specialist role. Conley may not make it to Spring Training as the team may look to arm more arms in free agency.
Conley started his career with the Marlins as a starter but proved to be more effective coming out of the pen.
Jose Urena – It would be shocking to see this happen, but when you see the sum of all the parts of the Marlins pitching staff, it might make sense. Jose Urena has no real place on the pitching staff as he was a starter and handed the closer’s role when he returned from injury and could not make it work.
Urena won’t be able to crack the rotation with the young arms and I cannot see him locking down the closer’s role in camp. Yes, he might work well in a long-relief position, but he could just as easily become part of the trade package this offseason.
If no deal gets done, designation might be his best option.
Lewis Brinson – This makes the most sense of all since outfielder Lewis Brinson teases this organization with power in the Spring, tails off when he makes the MLB roster and then makes a major impact at the Triple-A level with little success after being brought up in September.
Brinson is one of the curious enigmas of MLB. As a farmhand in Milwaukee, the Ft. Lauderdale native was full of promise. That promise has shrink continuously.
Brinson is on his last strike with the organization, so he must make an impact in February. Failure to do so should mean a change of scenery for the 2020 season.