The Miami Marlins coaching staff must still figure out who will make up the team’s outfield for the 2020 season once baseball resumes.
When the Miami Marlins and the rest of major-league baseball gets back to “normalcy“ of everyday play, the biggest question the team still faces is how will the outfield shakes out.
It was one of the more entertaining competitions during the spring and could continue to be one of the more interesting positions to watch as play resumes.
As we talked about earlier last month, the Marlins have plenty of prospects and plenty of veterans who all have an opportunity to play. Deciding who is the best fit is still a decision for the front office and coaching staff.
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Shortly after the decision was made by Major League Baseball to shut down Spring Training operations, Monte Harrison was opted to AAA Wichita. That doesn’t mean the 24-year-old won’t be on the team’s roster at some point, but it does take away one player from the plethora of those still in Major League camp for manager Don Mattingly to pick from.
As Joe Frisaro explained, two of the outfield positions have been decided. Jonathan Villar will be in centerfield. He was acquired from Baltimore this off-season. Corey Dickerson figures to be in left field. He was signed to a two-year free-agent contract this past winter. That opens the door for the right field position where Matt Joyce appears to be the front runner. The only problem with that is he is not an everyday player.
That means four or five outfielders who remain in camp will be vying for one starting spot. The good news is it should make for a very deep bench. Amongst those still competing are Lewis Brinson, Harold Ramirez, Garrett Cooper, and Jon Berti.
Because there is such stiff competition, the creation of the 26th spot on the roster might help this team the most. Harrison was competing for all three spots before he was optioned to Wichita. He figures to be able to fill in if needed at the top of the lineup, once his name is called back to The Show.
Berti can play both in the outfield and in the middle of the infield. Cooper can play in right or left field and fill in at first base. These options are a really good thing for a team that figures to continue to struggle this year as they grow in Year 3 of this rebuilding project.
As we talked about in the previous story, Harrison is the one player who is knocking on the door hoping to break it down and prove to everybody he’s ready for the major leagues. You will see him at some point this season.
Another possibility is the Marlins may look to deal one or more outfielders because of the depth and the fact they may need help at other positions. The team also can’t count out Matt Kemp, a veteran who was brought in as a non-roster player, who could still swing a bat and provide leadership on the field and in the dugout.
It was once believed that had he come to camp, Kemp would make the roster. Now because of such talent the Marlins have and are facing amongst different positions, it isn’t a guarantee. Kemp has spent some time at first base, which could mean he could fill the 26th spot on the roster because he is willing to play on the infield this year.