Plenty of opportunity at Marlins camp
MIAMI — Plenty of jobs will be up for grabs when the Marlins head into Spring Training on Feb. 12 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.
Heavy turnover from a year ago has created uncertainty and plenty of opportunity.
The Marlins have 71 players scheduled to attend Spring Training, with many of those being prospects who will get a taste of big league camp. But for a number of players, the competition for an Opening Day roster spot is very real.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said on Tuesday that fifth starter is up in the air, as is about three or four bullpen spots.
“There are some guys that we definitely have in a little bit darker pencil than others,” Beinfest said. “There is going to be competition. If you really look at it right now on paper, I think the fifth starter is wide open.
“I would say there are three to four really open spots in the ‘pen, depending on who you may or may not have in the ‘pen already. There are a lot of opportunities out there for guys to step up. There are a couple of jobs on the bench — the utility infielder, the fourth outfielder. I think those are the highlights of the opportunities.”
The first four in the rotation are set — Ricky Nolasco, Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez. In the mix for the fifth starter are Wade LeBlanc, Brad Hand, Tom Koehler, Alex Sanabia and Minor League invitees, John Maine, Kevin Slowey and Mitch Talbot.
In the bullpen, Steve Cishek will close. But there will be several openings for setup and long relief roles.
Beinfest mentioned Arquimedes Caminero as an interesting prospect, who has battled back from Tommy John surgery.
Jose Ceda, also back from Tommy John surgery, will have a chance to win an Opening Day relief spot. But Ceda missed all of last year, and there is a chance he could start off in extended Spring Training and/or get innings in at Triple-A New Orleans.
Full-squad workouts get underway on Feb. 15.
In terms of positions, Giancarlo Stanton (right field), Rob Brantly (catcher), Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop), Juan Pierre (left field), Placido Polonco (third base), Donovan Solano (second base) and Justin Ruggiano (center field) are likely starters when camp opens.
Logan Morrison, recovering from right knee surgery, will not be ready to run when camp opens. The hope is he will be ready for Opening Day, but that will depend on how the knee responds.
Greg Dobbs, Joe Mahoney and Austin Kearns are candidates to play first base until Morrison is available.
Beinfest has not ruled out the team making one or two more modest signings.
– Joe Frisaro