Which player walks into the Miami Marlins Spring Training facility in Jupiter, Florida knowing he has to perform above expectation or he could be looking for a new team in 2020?
As Spring Training begins and players arrive at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, fans and media alike hope this is the season where the Miami Marlins turn themselves into contenders.
That might be a bit of a reach this season, but with player movement and solid additions to the 40-man roster this offseason, it might not be as much of a reach as some think. Miami still has plenty of adjustments to make for 2020, with Don Mattingly once again steering a fragile ship that could lead to another disastrous season. That may result in a change of philosophy by the front office and a cleaning of the coaching staff.
Let’s all hope the progress train continues to run on the tracks in the spring and summer heat.
I am as optimistic as the next guy when it comes to these Marlins and the progress they could make in the third year of new ownership under Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman. There are plenty of new faces wearing team colors. There are also core players looking to make a statement with their bat, glove and pitching arm.
There are about six weeks left until the start of the Major League season and players are fighting for roster spots. The competition is a bit stiffer this year given there are more veterans in camp and the team is older in comparison to last season. Also, there is strength in numbers in the bullpen.
Given that the Marlins and the other 29 MLB teams will have a 26-man roster this season, decisions will be tougher, but Mattingly will have one more player he can add to help this roster.
So, who has the most to lose this Spring? I believe it comes down to positioning. For me, it’s Garrett Cooper, who had already been on notice after an injury-filled 2019 season.
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In a world free of injury, Cooper would play first base, hit 40 home runs and 80-100 RBI in a season. But he spent too much time on the injured list the past two seasons and has already been viewed by Mattingly as a bench player. That’s too bad for the guy who started in right field the past two years on Opening Day.
Because the team brought in Jesus Aguilar from Tampa Bay and signed Matt Kemp to a contract that included an invitation to camp, it’s going to be tough to get Cooper the time at the plate he needs to flex his power.
That’s my opinion. The staff members here at Marlin Maniac have their own thoughts on which player has the most to lose for everything gets underway for real at the end of March.
Kevin Kraczkowski – I think the player with the most to lose stands to be Matt Kemp. I don’t know if any other team would be willing to give him a shot at this point, and he’ll have ample chance to make the squad now that he’s moved, more-or-less, to first base.
Magneuris Sierra is out of options, and he’s also got a lot to lose, but perhaps less then Kemp. If Sierra fails to break camp with the Marlins, they’ll have to DFA and pass him through waivers, where he’s sure to get claimed. Getting claimed is far better than getting cut, which is the fate that awaits Kemp if he can’t cut it.
David Fernandez – Magneuris Sierra is one of the players contenting for the open center field position this spring. But unlike some of the others in this competition, Sierra’s Marlins career is literally on the line. The 23 year old speedster is out of minor league options, so if he doesn’t make the club, he’ll have to be traded or designated for assignment.
Luckily, for him, his 2019 run with the team flashed his potential. Sierra slashed .350/.381/.425 over 15 games and played a reliable center field, contributing three outfield assists. He showed his speed in September with three stolen bases.