The Miami Marlins front office is about to make some of the most important decisions in the history of this franchise.
The Miami Marlins will resume preparation for the 2020 season in a few short days. Now comes the hard part of deciding which players will make up the active roster and the taxi squad in what promises to be one of the strangest seasons in MLB history.
There are still position battles to be won, a designated hitter to pick out, and prospects who will have a chance to still make their Major League debut this season. The pace, like the race to the pennant, will be fast and furious. Everything the Miami Marlins do will have a direct effect on their season, taking in the good with the bad.
The focus may now shift from veterans who can help this team win now to watching prospects get their opportunities sooner rather than later, as Joe Frisaro of MLB.com explains.
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"“When the Marlins optioned two of their top prospects — outfielder Monte Harrison and right-hander Nick Neidert — to Triple-A Wichita in late March, it appeared to end any realistic chance of either being on the Opening Day roster,” he wrote.“Much has changed during these unprecedented times.”"
And there could be other prospects who make the team’s Opening Day roster
And because of these measures MLB has taken to make this sprint seem like a page out of a Speed Racer cartoon, manager Don Mattingly has some tough decisions to make. While managers may get a reprieve from being fired this offseason because of the season’s circumstances, it does not mean the front office won’t be watching and taking notes on progress.
"“Now, not only are Harrison and Neidert realistic possibilities to be with the Marlins from Day 1 of the season, but so are many other players previously considered “on the bubble,” or even some once viewed as long shots. And with the 2020 Draft in the rear-view, potentially even the club’s top pick could be an option,” Frisaro adds."
It also means the Marlins, a team that has looked to sell at the MLB Trade Deadline in recent years, could add a player or two if they are in a playoff chase.
Yes, I said that, thinking the Miami Marlins have a good chance as any team to reach the postseason. It just feels like a strong possibility given nothing is guaranteed with 60 games in the basket.
Mattingly and the front office will have to play a near-perfect chess match over the summer to ensure a winning record, something this organization has not done since 2009.
"“As part of MLB’s plan to reopen after being shut down for more than three months, roster composition will be different during the 60-game 2020 season,” Frisaro wrote.“The 60-person player pool is the group of players eligible to play for each team during the season. Per MLB’s Operations Manual, all players on the 40-man roster ‘that the Club anticipates participating’ in the season will be part of the player pool.”"
It might be a short period of time the Marlins have to prepare for the 2020 season, with Opening Day less than a month away, but the decisions that the franchise must make now will impact the organization for this year and 2021.