Miami Marlins Season Preview: Last Few Roster Spots Almost Decided

Bryan Petersen was optioned to Triple-A, making the competition for the final roster spot a little narrower. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Yesterday, the Miami Marlins made a few more decisions on their way to determining their final 25-man roster entering Opening Day. The team released Aaron Rowand and optioned Bryan Petersen amidst a flurry of moves. This opens up room for Chris Coghlan and Austin Kearns to make the team as fourth and fifth outfielders respectively, with Coghlan backing up center field and Kearns backing the corners and first base.

With these moves, the Marlins' 25-man roster is almost complete. Let's take a look at the likely list.

Position Players

C John Buck
C Brett Hayes
1B Gaby Sanchez
2B Omar Infante
3B Hanley Ramirez
SS Jose Reyes
INF Donnie Murphy
1B/3B Greg Dobbs
LF Logan Morrison
CF Emilio Bonifacio
CF Chris Coghlan
RF Giancarlo Stanton

Pitchers

SP Josh Johnson
SP Mark Buehrle
SP Ricky Nolasco
SP Carlos Zambrano
SP Anibal Sanchez
RP Heath Bell
RP Edward Mujica
RP Mike Dunn
RP Randy Choate
RP Steve Cishek
RP Ryan Webb
RP Wade LeBlanc

Now, that's actually 24 players. The Marlins could add the fifth outfielder in Austin Kearns, or they could turn to a 13th pitcher. Unfortunately. two solid candidates for that final pitcher spot have been eliminated from competition at the moment. Juan Oviedo, whom the team re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason despite his legal and visa troubles, still has not been able to leave his home country and remains on the restricted list. Jose Ceda, the relief prospect the Marlins acquired from the Chicago Cubs a number of years ago for Kevin Gregg, is set to undergo Tommy John surgery after finding a ligament tear during camp. This comes three years after the reliever missed the entire 2009 season with right shoulder surgery on a torn labrum as well.

Typically, in the early parts of the year, teams will often forgo a fifth starter in favor of another reliever, but the Marlins actually have five capable starters and likely will not utilize that early season scheduling possibility. As a result, you could see them turn to Kearns as a backup outfielder, especially since the team does have some lingering concerns about the health status of starting outfielders Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton, both of whom were suffering from knee injuries. If there are questions about either of their health situations by Opening Day, then you can expect the Fish to keep an extra outfielder just in case.

Either way, the last slot is going to be mostly irrelevant, as they will be playing a backup or very low-leverage role for the team. Either slot will simply be providing depth more than anything else, so this impact is going to be minimal. Still, seeing the completion of the 25-man roster is only getting me more excited for Opening Day; we're just counting the days until we get that first pitch on Wednesday evening.

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