The Miami Marlins will face some tough decisions regarding the team’s 26-man roster in a few weeks. Here are a few bold predictions for Spring Training.
Two games, two victories. Spring Training is off to a rousing start with the Miami Marlins. If the regular season were to start today, you would think this is a Marlins team ready to make some noise, surprise their fans and put their own stamp of approval on the 2020 season.
Hope is a great thing.
These Marlins appear to be resilient and full of moxie as they fight for roster spots. There hasn’t been this kind of excitement since the Derek Jeter era of this organization began. It should only get better.
With excitement comes expectations. With expectations comes belief. With belief comes the notion that these Marlins should be that good, or will still reside somewhere in the basement of the National League East. It could still happen, but youth and experience also mean there is plenty of opportunities to stick the landing on making a giant leap in baseball’s landscape.
At some point, many MLB insiders will proclaim Jeter knew what he was talking about when he asked fans and the local media to be patient.
Hopefully, that patience pays off starting at the end of March.
The Marlins front office will have some tough decisions to make in a few weeks. Deciding which players stay and who goes back to the minors or who is released is no easy task. Everyone is fighting for something right now, which makes the work and effort of these players on the field that much more important.
Here’s a look at three bold predictions for the remainder of Spring Training for the Marlins.
An Outfielder Gets Traded
There are too many pieces in the outfield. Some will move back to the minors. Some will leave a lasting impression on the front office and coaching staff. And some will be jettisoned to other teams for more minor league talent.
We saw this earlier this year with Austin Dean (Yes, I am still mad about this one). The Marlins have done a solid job of collecting outfield prospects as well as brought in veterans to challenge for a spot on the main roster.
Who stays and who goes? There will be some shocking revelation in the middle or toward the end of camp that leaves fans and the media shocked. It most likely will happen when an outfielder (or two) is moved to another team.
Nick Neidert wins the Fifth Spot in the Rotation
This isn’t as shocking as much it affects that the front office does with the other four or five arms fighting for the one spot. If Jordan Yamamoto nails down the fourth place in the rotation and Nick Neidert earns his roster spot, what happens to Robert Dugger and Elieser Hernandez, and what happens to other prospects who are trying to make the leap?
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Hernandez moves back to the bullpen, but that’s what was expected of him this season. He would serve the Marlins well as a long reliever. Dugger is a bit more complicated as he doesn’t fit the bullpen. Does Miami consider a six-man rotation if Neidert is “the one?”
If It isn’t Neidert, then Dugger probably earns it and the prospect starts the season in Wichita until there is an injury or someone proves to be inconsistent on the mound.
Matt Kemp is named the starting first baseman
The Marlins made a shrewd move in inviting Matt Kemp to Spring Training as a non-roster invite. The outfielder is expected to battle for one of the last roster spots in camp.
Kemp was one of the few everyday players who came to Jupiter early with pitchers and catchers to get a jumpstart on his 2020 campaign. As it was mentioned by a few outlets, he took infield practice at first base. The Marlins also signed Jesus Aguilar off waivers from Tampa Bay this off-season to play on the bag as well. The move to bring in both veterans gives manager Don Mattingly more versatility, but it also creates a situation where somebody may be left off the roster.
Both players are looking to revive their careers after sub-par 2019 seasons. Kemp could be the guy who surprises everybody and reverts back to his 2018 form.
Each one should make the 26 man roster, but it is Kemp who is picked to make the start at first base on Opening Day.