As the offseason to Major League Baseball has begun, the Miami Marlins roster could look at lot different than it did this past year.
The Marlins and 29 other MLB teams have some decisions to make.
As big-name players decide to test the free-agent market and front offices determine how much they want to spend to upgrade rosters and futures, the Marlins have a few options for their 2020 roster they must explore.
Will this be the season this organization takes another step forward in spending money on talent to better their chances of a winning season, or will Derek Jeter, Michael Hill and the rest of the front office remain on the same course as before – waiting for prospects to help carry this team to the postseason?
In any direction, the roster of players this team fielded in 2019 has already changed and will do so if players are released, traded or sent back to the minors to begin the 2020 campaign. Here is a look at three players who may not be part of the team’s plan in 2020.
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Jose Urena – 2017 was a breakthrough season for Jose Urena, who needed to make the Opening Day roster in Miami to remain with the organization. He did just that and was a long reliever before being moved to the starting rotation.
From there, Urena won 14 games to lead the team in victories. After that, it seemed like the walls caved in a bit. In 2018, Urena was 9-12 after a disastrous start to the season and a strong finish in the last two months of the year. This past season wasn’t any better as he could not drum up run support then suffered a herniated disc.
He was 4-10 in 24 games and was offered the chance to win the closer’s role when he returned from the Injured List. That did not work out well for him or the team. Now, with arbitration in his sights, will the Marlins plunk down what should be $4 million to retain him on the roster?
I think it’s doubtful and he is either designated for assignment or traded this offseason. There is no place for him in the starting rotation in 2020.
Lewis Brinson – Unless there is a major seismic shift in the universe, the likelihood of Lewis Brinson coming into camp, winning a starting spot in the outfield, hitting .275 with 25 home runs and staying on the Marlins 26-man roster is near impossible.
Brinson is one of those guys you root for and hope he can turn things around. The Marlins invested in him with the trade of Christian Yelich. But the results have been far from stellar. The front office and the coaching staff is losing patience by the minute for a player who looks good in the minors and in Spring Training, but cannot put it all together on the Major League level.
Realistically, a trade would be best for all involved if it means the Marlins get a prospect in return or help for the bullpen. The team has plenty of outfielders to choose from in terms of starters and depth for 2020. And with Monte Harrison a potential opening day starter in centerfield or the player to take his place on the parent club roster, Brinson may have played his last game in Marlins Park in September.
Nick Neidert – Understand where I am going with this one. There are plenty of Marlins minor league prospects fighting to make the 26-man roster. There will be changes to the team’s pitching staff and like last season, the talk was about Zac Gallen making the roster at midseason.
Gallen was traded for Jazz Chisholm and became expendable because the Marlins needed infield prospects for the future and the fact Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera and Jorge Guzman were all developing in AA at Jacksonville.
The Marlins have many young arms to choose from, which means someone will have to wait their turn or fill in for an injured starter. Sanchez is the team’s top prospect. Guzman could be Miami’s closer of the future and Cabrera is solid. I could see Cabrera moved, but Nick Neidert might be a better option as part of a package for an MLB power hitter.
It’s also a good bet Neidert could win a spot in the rotation in Spring Training and will get traded at the All-Star Break if the team finds they still do not have enough lumber in the middle of its batting order.