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Miami Marlins open to carrying extra reliever

The Marlins could open the season with eight relievers and 13 pitchers since Brad Hand is out of minor league options and Andrew McKirahan would return to Chicago if he does not earn a spot on the 25-man roster.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami has few questions with regard to its opening day roster, however the club may be considering a change within its pitching staff. According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are open to carrying eight relievers and 13 pitchers instead of the 12 they have broken camp with over the last few seasons.

Although the Marlins would like to carry 13 position players and 12 pitchers, the contracts of several pitchers could make doing so a challenge.

Don’t be surprised if the Marlins open the season with eight relievers and 13 pitchers, compared to 12 position players. Ideally, the club would like to carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players. But the club hasn’t ruled out 13 pitchers.

Brad Hand is out of options, and Rule 5 draft pick Andrew McKirahan would return to Chicago if he is not on the 25-man roster at the start of the season. Hand will see time as a starter this spring, while McKirahan has pitched well in his first few spring outings. If they feel it would be beneficial the Marlins likely would be open to keeping both. Hand could serve as a long reliever out of the bullpen if he does not earn a rotation spot, and the Marlins may be open to carrying three left-handed relievers.

President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said the club does not necessarily have a preference with regard to the number of relievers it carries, however competing in the National League East, a pair of lefties may be ideal. If he is consistent throughout the spring, Hand could be dealt if the Marlins feel they have enough starting depth.

If the Marlins end up carrying 13 pitchers, it may hurt their bench throughout the course of the season. Jeff Mathis, utility infielder Jeff Baker, and Ichiro Suzuki are all almost guaranteed roster spots. As a result, there would only be a spot or two available, with Derek Dietrich, Don Kelly, Reed Johnson, Justin Bour, and Donovan Solano hoping to land a spot on the roster at the end of spring training. Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris, Carter Capps, Aaron Crow, and Sam Dyson will all see time out of the bullpen before the start of the regular season. Nick Massett could also win a bullpen spot.

The Marlins could lose an arm or two because of an injury before the end of the spring. With just under a month left until the regular season begins, the Marlins have time before a decision needs to be made. But three lefties remains a possibility for a club that has not carried more than two over the last few seasons.