Miami made several cuts on Tuesday morning, and Carter Capps, whose fastball can reach over 100 mph at its best, was among them. Capps had difficulty with his command throughout the course of spring training, however according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, optioning Capps does not make the bullpen situation any clearer, as the club must decide what to do with Brad Hand.
Even though he will open the season with Triple-A New Orleans, Capps may be among the first pitchers to be promoted at some point in 2015. Capps spent most of last season on the disabled list with an elbow sprain, but did strike out 25 in 20.1 innings. He struck out six and walked four in 4.2 innings of relief during Grapefruit League play.
Although the Marlins made a decision on Capps, the club will have to decide if it wants to carry Hand in the bullpen in 2015. Its decision with regard to Hand, who is out of options and has been drawing interest from clubs looking for pitching depth, will likely determine how the remaining bullpen spots are filled heading into 2015.
The Marlins' rotation appears to be set, with Henderson Alvarez starting on opening day, and Jarred Cosart, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, and Tom Koehler rounding out Miami's starting unit. Hand, if he makes the club, would likely serve as a long relief option out of the bullpen. Hand could be a favorite because he is a lefty who can make a spot start, which may be valuable because the Marlins' rotation is expected to contain all right-handed arms. David Phelps, who will start against the Tigers in Lakeland on Wednesday, is also a candidate to serve as the Marlins' long reliever.
As Frisaro notes, carrying multiple long relievers may prove to be beneficial for the Marlins, who make trips to Philadelphia, New York, and Atlanta in April. But if both Hand and Phelps earn spots in the bullpen, the Marlins may have to deal Rule 5 draft pick Andrew McKirahan. Several teams are also interested in McKirahan, who would be sent back to the Cubs if he does not make the 25-man roster at the end of the spring.
Miami has not been plagued by injuries this spring, and had a consistent bullpen in 2014. The unit is expected to be effective again in 2015, but the Marlins have several decisions to make before opening day.