Starting pitcher Kevin Slowey and outfielder Marcell Ozuna both hope to be on the Marlins' Opening Day roster come next season. However, Slowey will have to resign with the squad and Ozuna will have to remain healthy throughout the offseason in order for that to become a realistic goal.
Due to right forearm tightness, Slowey hasn't appeared in a game since July 22. He is expected to throw off of a mound this week and said in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel that he will play Winter Ball if that is what it takes to show the Marlins he is healthy.
"If that's something they would like me to do I'm for it," said Slowey, who played in the Dominican Republic last winter. "I didn't mind it. I was there five starts, enough to get into six innings my last couple of starts and feel like I was more in game shape."
Slowey was Miami's most consistent starting pitcher early on, prior to the arrival of Jose Fernandez. He, at one point, led the league in ERA and can be a starter or long reliever out of the bullpen. Slowey saw time in the rotation because of injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez and the inconsistency of Jacob Turner.
If the Marlins don't want to give Slowey guaranteed money, who is eligible to become a free agent after the Marlins signed him last offseason, they can sign him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
"This has been a great spot with the coaching staff, my teammates, all the opportunity that was here," Slowey said. "It's going to be a team that will be much improved record-wise. The talent is here ... I'd love to come back. If we can find a way to make it work that's what I'll do."
It may be harder for Ozuna to earn a roster spot next season because of Miami's crowded outfield. Ozuna began baseball activities this week after recovering from surgery on his left thumb.
Ozuna batted .330 in his first 28 major league games. The organization first announced that he was being sent to Double-A Jacksonville before he was placed on the disabled list.
"He's kept himself in good shape. It looks like his hand is feeling good," Redmond said. "I think for him going into the offseason knowing he's able to swing the bat is definitely a good sign. He can concentrate on preparing himself for spring training and to compete and win a job."
Ozuna reportedly wants to play winter ball, though Redmond is unsure if the team wants him to do so. He was trying to get into a game before the season ends on Sunday.
"Every time I show him the lineup card he reminds me that he's not on that card. I say you will be, don't worry," Redmond said. "You know he wants to be out there, but unfortunately injuries happen. I know how hungry he is and I'm excited for spring training to see these guys come in and really compete."