As we reach the commencement of the 2014 season for the Miami Marlins on Monday, the puzzle pieces that make up their big league roster should be in place for Opening Night. While Miami is still in the middle of their brutally long rebuilding process, the current iteration of the team is definitely an improvement on the cellar dweller club of the 2013 season. With that in mind, there are still a few small openings that remain on the team's current 25 man roster.
One of the gaping openings on Miami's roster would be the overall depth inside the team's infield. Despite their efforts to improve that specific area through a multitude of moves (Rafael Furcal, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee, etc), there still remains several gaps. A clear example of that lack of depth is in the center of Miami's infield that's currently manned by the duo of Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop) and Rafael Furcal (2nd base). While that duo is solid in various areas, they're really not the type of talent that you want on a day-by-day basis for a variety of reasons.
Minor-league journeyman Ed Lucas and Donovan Solano are hoping to fill in those aforementioned gaps in Miami's infield. While there might not be enough openings to have both Solano and Lucas on the Opening Night roster, the duo bring their varying strengths to the team on a game-by-game basis. For the 31-year-old Lucas, his overall versatility made him into a solid reserve option for last year's team. While Lucas is mainly known for his work as a corner infielder (third base and shortstop), he can be positioned in a varying amount of positions from 1st base and shortstop to catcher and multiple corner outfielder positions.
Even though he played a limited role in his rookie season, Lucas was able to make a solid impact because of his all-around versatility, and above-average work at the plate. With the split-line of .256/.311/.336, Lucas is a less than stellar but yet solid hitter. While the words "upside" and "potential" are clearly in his rearview mirror, the current iteration of Ed Lucas sits as a potentially solid and versatile reserve infielder.
On the other hand, Donovan Solano rests on the cusp of his first Opening Day roster spot in his near decade-long stint as a professional baseball player. While Solano has had multiple stints with the Marlins big league club, he hasn't really grasped onto a solid role. Despite the fact that he doesn't have the overall versatility of Lucas, Solano's work as an offensive weapon definitely made a positive impact during his short time with the team.
With that in mind, both Lucas and Solano should be on the opening day roster because they fill into some of Miami's most glaring needs. Whether it would be the versatility of Lucas or the offensive impact of Solano (.269/.322/.342 split during his career with Miami), the duo are valuable assets to the team's overall landscape for the 2014 season. Are there better options out there? Absolutely. But the Marlins don't currently have the in-house options that are ready and able to compete on a major league level.