It's coming down to the wire for a number of players fighting for roster spots, including a couple whose jobs might not be as secure as they would appear to be. Take catcher Kyle Skipworth, for example. He thought he had won the backup catching job, which may end up being given to somebody else. "To have two young guys like that is not an idea situation," manager Mike Redmond said of a Brantly/Skipworth tandem to start the season. "I feel comfortable with 'Skippy,' but at the same time I'm nervous having two young guys back there. So we'll have to see how that plays out. All those are issues and things we have to take into account. That's why it's going down to the last day, to make those decisions."
Placido Polanco has 7,471 plate appearances in his 15-year career. Just seven of those at-bats came from the clean-up spot, the last one in 2002. Polanco is a candidate to hit behind Giancarlo Stanton, despite nominal experience. "I don’t think they expect me to be hitting home runs because I’m hitting fourth. I assume that’s what spring training is for, to try different things,’’ Polanco said Monday after going 1-for-3 with a double as the cleanup hitter in Miami’s 6-3 loss to Detroit.
The Marlins will open the season next week with plenty of uncertainty, but their biggest issue might be the starting rotation. The starting five will include a guy who hasn’t won a game since 2010 and three pitchers who started last season in the minor leagues. None of the five finished with a winning record in 2012.
After two frustrating seasons, outfielder Chris Coghlan arrived in camp last month wondering if his tenure with the Marlins was coming to an end. Following a strong spring performance, he made the 25-man roster. "You talk about two years of disappointment on my end, their end. Two seasons in a row you make (the) Opening Day (roster) and you get sent down and you don’t get called up in September. That’s pretty much self-explanatory right in your face," Coghlan said.
You could call it the Nationals League East. As everyone knows, though, games aren't played on paper. Before the postseason invitations are passed out, there will be countless twists and turns that can't possibly be foreseen.
Logan Morrison, who will start the season on the disabled list while recovering from knee surgery, is hoping to be back with the Marlins sometime in May. "I just hope to be in the big leagues by early, middle May," Morrison said. "I don't really know how that's going to fall or when I need to start playing down here. You have to go through the whole production of play a day, play three innings, don't play the next day, then play two days in a row and don't play that day."
From what the Marlins have seen in six weeks of Spring Training, there is plenty to be excited about. The future looks bright with high-end prospects abound, but right now, however, the Marlins must deal with today. "I think that's always a challenge," new manager Mike Redmond said. "I think for any manager, that's a challenge. There is so much pressure, and so much focus on winning. For me, too, I'm a competitor. I want to win every game. We wouldn't be here if we weren't like that."
With four days remaining before Opening Day in Washington, the Marlins' roster continues to take shape. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest announced before Thursday afternoon's Grapefruit League finale against the Cardinals that Chris Valaika and Chris Coghlan earned spots. "One thing [Marlins manager Mike Redmond] and I kind of talked about early on, he plays with a lot of energy and he's spunky and he's a grinder," Beinfest said of Valaika.
In the eighth and final Grapefruit League game between two clubs that share the Roger Dean Stadium spring complex, the Cardinals earned a 1-0 victory over the Marlins on Thursday. The Marlins will play an exhibition game against their Triple-A affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyrs, in New Orleans on Saturday before opening the regular season in Washington on Monday.
We have now entered the top three of the Marlin Maniac top 20 prospect list for the Miami Marlins. Of the first 17 prospects we took a look at, seven came in the blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in November.
Around The League
-Juan Rivera out; Lyle Overbay, Ben Francisco to make Yanks | MLB.com: News
The Yankees released veteran Juan Rivera from his Minor League contract on Thursday, giving Lyle Overbay the inside track to win the regular first-base job to open the season.
As Mariano Rivera looks ahead to his final Opening Day, the Yankees' closer said that he does not know what emotions will be flowing through him when the team is announced before the April 1 game against the Red Sox.
There's a reason we pay attention to March exhibitions, and it's not just because we're all starved for baseball. There are things to be gleaned, if you know what to look for. So MLB.com decided to take a look at five bits of potentially valuable information from this year's Spring Training games.
The numbers -- two runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings -- were hardly spectacular, but Roy Halladay was nonetheless pleased with the way he pitched Thursday against the Blue Jays in his final appearance of the spring.
At Fish Bites
The Miami Marlins may have to rely on a bullpen with a mix of veteran cast-offs and young, inexperienced players to carry the later part of the games for them in 2013.
Jose Urena, a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher, is Fish Stripes #12 prospect in 2013.
The Miami Marlins have already demoted top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez, and outfielder Christian Yelich is on his way as well. The Fish may also consider demoting starter Jacob Turner. What is the difference between these demotions?
The Miami Marlins may not have a lot of exciting names beyond Giancarlo Stanton, but if you are a fantasy baseball fan, you still need to be familiar with the team in south Florida. Who should you look out for in 2013?
The Miami Marlins are starting the regular season with some weak names on their roster, and they will need the best lineup they can write to give them a marginal edge in run scoring. But what is that best lineup?
Forbes released its annual estimates on Major League Baseball franchise values, and the Miami Marlins have climbed up to $520 million, a 16 percent gain from last season. But hidden in those numbers are arguments in favor of the Marlins' cost-cutting.