Today, the Miami Marlins make the upcoming 2013 season official, as position players report to camp later this morning. The position players coming in make the grand total of players reporting to Marlins camp at 73, with a healthy 48 players left to pare down to leave a 25-man roster.
There are a number of position players coming in today as non-roster invitees who will get a look as Marlins during spring training before inevitably being cut. Of the 33 non-roster invitees, at least 13 of those players were in the Marlins' organization last season, with a number of those players being prospects on the team. The hitters among those 13 guys include organizational top 20 prospects such as Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick, J.T. Realmuto, and Derek Dietrich. It is easy to say that none of those guys have a shot at making the major league roster out of camp, but the team is looking to give them their reps against close-to-major-league talent in order to get them ready for the world of Double-A (or Triple-A, in Dietrich's case).
Among the free agents who signed for the spring training invite and minor league opportunity, the most talked-about one is Chone Figgins, who epitomized the depression that is the 2013 offseason. He is being considered for a utility role on the bench, which of course puts another aged veteran who has more than proven his lack of skill on the team.
Other minor league free agent position players have been brought in as well this season, and these guys will report today looking for a job in the majors. Kevin Kouzmanoff signed some months ago in the wake of the Marlins fire sale trade, and it was thought that he would be a candidate to play third base once Yunel Escobar was traded away. Likewise, Matt Downs and Nick Green were signed with similar goals in mind.
Of the Marlins players on the 40-man roster, what position players are of interest? Kyle Skipworth made the 40-man team in order to avoid being available in the Rule 5 draft, but he has been awful for much of his minor league career and is likely heading back to the minors. Marcell Ozuna, on the other hand, is a top Marlins prospect and could catch some eyes with his raw power. Finally. Chris Coghlan may have one last spring training to prove himself worthy of a roster spot, as he looks to earn a backup outfielder role against a number of players who are out of options such as Gorkys Hernandez.
For more coverage of spring training, keep it tuned here at Fish Stripes! And for more overall 2013 season previewing, keep your eye out for the section.