Miami Marlins: Where NRI’s stand during the halt of play

JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Matt Kemp #27 in the dugout during the spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 04, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 04: Matt Kemp #27 in the dugout during the spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 04, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The Marlins must make decisions regarding their non-roster invitees and who will remain on the team’s 26-man roster.

The Marlins coaching staff and front office have had the good fortune of seeing many of their non-roster invitees show they are ready to make the 26-man roster when the team resumes playing the game. Major League Baseball issued a shutdown of spring baseball due to the Coronavirus epidemic, which will push back the start of the season.

It’s a waiting game the Marlins and 29 other teams did not want to face, knowing the decisions on this roster were going to be tough enough. Losing time on the field while the world deals with a pandemic is not how things were supposed to go with Spring’s right of passage. But the team is adjusting the best it can.

There is time to think, analyze and make the best chess moves on a board that is semi-complete, with plenty of discussions to be had about who stays and who goes. While free agency and Hot Stove brought in a nice mix of veteran talent, minor league prospects also made things a bit more complicated in the decision process.

Don’t blame anyone for the abundance of riches the Marlins have and have displayed this year. It’s a peek at the future. It’s one that grows brighter by the moment.

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"“There are such non-roster invitees as outfielder Matt Kemp, infielder Sean Rodriguez and reliever Brad Boxberger, each of whom could make the club,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “Right-handed relievers Josh A. Smith and Aaron Northcraft, along with lefty Alex Vesia and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, are also non-roster invitees.”"

When was the last time anyone talked about the Marlins and lauded over their amassed talent in Spring Training? The past two seasons have been about building. This year is about moving forward. Michael Hill, the team’s president of baseball operations has been preaching how good this club is and will be since the end of the 2019 season.

The men in camp, including the NRI’s, have proven his words to be truthful and most of all, there is excitement throughout the organization.

There is still plenty to do, making the right puzzle pieces fit and potentially making deals to further enhance the team’s future.

"“That’s always the part of it,” Hill said. “It’s not anything new. As you get near the end of camp, you’re always following the back end of other club’s 40-man rosters. You’re always following players that have outs or no options on other clubs because you’re always looking for different ways to improve. That will always be our job. You never take rests in that regard.”"

Kemp is part of a crowded outfield group. There may be the best talent in the outfield in the past decade. The pitching staff is full of promise and an overflow of talent that will be thinned out in the next few weeks.

Hill expects there to be some tough decisions ahead, especially with Kemp and other veterans.

"“He’s a little different given his pedigree and resume, and you’re not making judgments solely on Spring Training,” Hill said of Kemp. “But you just want to see a consistent approach, and I think that’s what you ask of all of our position players who are trying to win a job. Who’s going to be the most consistent and give us the best opportunity to win games?”"

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