Last offseason, many were anxiously waiting for the start of the season so that they could see how the new acquisitions would perform when it really counted. Following a November fire sale, there is very little hype and Opening Night tickets are buy one get one free.
Despite the low expectations, the Marlins' roster is expected to be complete by Saturday. With the exception of backup catcher, every position has been filled or won, and the bench appears to be set.
After leaving Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox in the third inning after one at-bat, outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who the Marlins acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Gaby Sanchez, was informed on Thursday that he would not be a part of the team. Hernandez is out of options, and is expected to be traded within the next few days.
In terms of the bench, Austin Kearns, Chris Coghlan, Greg Dobbs, and Chris Valaika will be manager Mike Redmond's late-inning replacements or pinch hitters. Kearns, despite struggling consistently throughout spring training, reportedly made the team because of his experience. Kearns hit over .300 against left-handed pitchers last season, and the Marlins' front office is hoping he will do the same in 2013.
Chris Coghlan had what many said was a "very impressive spring", and is hoping to return to his 2009 rookie of the year form. Coghlan is a left handed option of the bench, and can play all three outfield positions.
Valaika was battling with former Phillie Wilson Valdez for the infield utility player spot. Valdez was brought into camp late, and after showing that he can play solid defense and provide power from the right side of the plate, Miami decided to stick with Valaika.
For Greg Dobbs, 2013 will be another step in his routine. Although he might see more playing time at first base in until Logan Morrison returns, Dobbs will mainly be a lefty option off the bench late in games.
Following a poor spring, Jacob Turner learned early in the week that he would begin the year in Triple-A. Rounding out the Marlins' rotation are Ricky Nolasco, Nathan Eovaldi, Wade LeBlanc, Henderson Alvarez, and Kevin Slowey. Slowey won the job over former Met John Maine, who is expected to be the long man out of the bullpen.
Steve Cishek will be the last out of a bullpen that will feature Mike Dunn, Maine, A.J. Ramos, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls, and Ryan Webb. Rauch was signed halfway through spring, while Qualls earned the spot with several impressive outings in relief.
While rookie Kyle Skipworth thought he had the job won, Koyie Hill is a candidate to back up Rob Brantly. Miguel Olivo was also just signed by Miami and could be given the job despite the fact that spring training is over.
Though Josh Johnson won't be throwing out the first pitch, and Jose Reyes won't be starting at shortstop, the Miami roster still contains several names that have proven they can win in the past.