These three players could still be a big part of what the Miami Marlins do in a shortened season in 2020.
There should be baseball by now. The Miami Marlins and MLB should be half-way through the 2020 season. There should be an improved team playing in the hot sun on a Sunday afternoon.
Sadly, there isn’t. Even sadder, there isn’t any kind of baseball to talk about as the impasse between the owners and players has slowed down the potential of some kind of season.
But like every other ball club, there is still hope the two sides will agree to something soon and Marlins fans can enjoy watching games that matter from the comfort of their own home.
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When baseball does return and Don Mattingly’s crew gets back to preparing for the 2020 stanza, choosing who starts and who fills the depth chart will become the most important decisions made by the coaching staff. There could a few surprises.
All offseason, fans, and reporters have focused on the changes this organization has made. We discussed the new faces and the direction Miami is moving towards. We’ve talked about how Hot Stove, free agency, and the MLB Draft once again shape this team for the future.
We haven’t discussed the present as much as we possibly should have. And along the way, we may have forgotten these players on the Miami Marlins roster are still a big part of the team’s plan for the 2020 season.
Until the decision to close the Marlins training facility in Jupiter, Florida, there had been some talk that Jose Urena could become the Opening Day starter, bypassing both Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith for the honor.
Urena’s rocky road with the Marlins the past few seasons, which culminated in him moving back to the bullpen in a failed closer’s role last season, doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable piece to the pitching staff.
Urena is the veteran of the rotation – should he remain there. He could still be a trade piece the front office uses to acquire another hitter now that the designated hitter will be a part of the team’s makeup in 2020 and potentially 2021.
What the Marlins coaching staff gets from the veteran is an innings eater who can become a solid middle of the rotation starter or the fifth starter who will balance the use of young starters who are still developing.
Something tells me Miguel Rojas is going to have a monster season if the Marlins ever get back on the field.
Rojas is the veteran that every Major League team needs. A player, a coach and a mentor. He will fill the shoes left by Martin Prado, working to make Isan Diaz a better professional. He also knows his role with the team, as Jazz Chisholm will eventually replace him in the Miami Marlins lineup.
Rojas is a contact hitter who may also hit 10 home runs and provide solid defense at shortstop. That’s his most valuable asset to this organization. He is essentially a manager on the field for Mattingly and his staff.
I’m interested to see if Rojas plays a full 60 games if the season does happen. Will the Marlins front office look to get Chisholm in the lineup? Also, is there a chance he fills in as a part-time designated hitter from time to time.
Whatever the situation, having his versatility is a bonus for this ball club.
When it was announced MLB would allow the Miami Marlins and other teams to carry 30 players this season, it was almost a guarantee that Harold Ramirez would be part of the team’s Opening Day roster.
Had it not been for changes for the upcoming season, it might not have been the case. Ramirez is in stiff competition for a spot in the outfield, but he could also serve as a designated hitter or could potentially play at first base in a pinch.
The outfield has been one of the better battles in training camp. There are still plenty of players laying claim to the possibility of starting or holding down a reserve role. Ramirez has some punch in his bat and is better suited for one of the corner outfield spots.
He did play in centerfield as well in 2019.
Also, Ramirez is a solid contact hitter who will hit for average and move baserunners around. He could surprise the Marlins as the most improved player on the roster this coming season.