JUPITER -- Aaron Crow has always been a Kansas City Royals fan. Growing up in Topeka, Kansas, Crow was very familiar with the Royals and was thankful for the opportunity to play for the 2014 American League Champions. But he had a feeling he would be traded this offseason, and is excited about joining the Marlins.
"I kind of had an idea it was coming," Crow said of the late November trade that sent Brian Flynn and Reid Redman to Kansas City. "I want to go somewhere else [to play for a team] that had a chance to win. At first I was kind of upset because I was a Royals fan as a kid. I was a little bit disappointed, going somewhere new and leaving all of that behind. But it didn't last very long."
Crow, 28, was an integral part of the Royals' bullpen as they made a playoff push. He posted a 6-1 record to complement a 4.12 ERA and 5.40 FIP in 59.0 innings pitched. Crow has spent the last four seasons as a setup man, and although the Marlins were thought to be considering using him in a starting role, Crow will see time out of the Marlins' bullpen this spring.
"I haven't started since I was in the minor leagues," Crow said. "I feel comfortable coming out of the bullpen so I have no problem doing that."
Although Miami first considered adding Crow to give the club rotation depth until Jose Fernandez returns, President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill felt Crow would be valuable because of his versatility.
"The thing that was attractive was his versatility," Hill said. "We knew that he was a reliever. Not knowing what the rest of the winter would hold for us, we had him as a starter in mind. Now that we've been able to acquire the starters that we have, we'll just keep him where he is comfortable."
Crow will compete for a spot in Miami's bullpen, and could serve as a middle reliever if he makes the team. Bryan Morris, A.J. Ramos, and Mike Dunn are expected to be the Marlins' primary setup options. Crow learned a lot from the Royals' relievers in 2014, and is impressed with the talent in Miami's bullpen.
"We had some really good guys up there in that bullpen," Crow said of the Royals' unit in 2014. "I just kind of watched how they carried themselves and reacted to adversity. It's a great learning tool of you can pick up on that stuff. It seems like everybody in the big leagues now throws hard. The biggest thing is if guys can command their stuff. I think that everybody here can do that."
The Marlins upgraded the lineup by adding Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, and Michael Morse while also acquiring Dan Haren and Mat Latos this offseason. Crow felt the Royals did not get the national attention they deserved heading into last season, and feels the same way about the Marlins this spring.
"Last year, the Royals weren't really getting a lot of respect heading into the season," Crow said. "We haven't gotten a lot of respect I feel this team deserves right now."
Although Crow acknowledged he was unsure of where he would be pitching in 2015, he was attracted to Miami because of the club's lineup. With Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton at the top of the order, Crow is confident Miami's offense will be consistent throughout 2015.
"Stanton is a special player," Crow said. "With Dee at the top of the lineup, hopefully he can get on base a lot. You could see a lot of Stanton driving him in. It starts with the top and we have three guys up there who can all provide a lot of offense."
Even though he was pleased with his role in Kansas City, Crow is excited to move forward with the Marlins.
"Just watching guys so far in camp, I think we've got a good group of guys," Crow said. "Hopefully I can come in and add something to that. I hope I can help them out and we can get to the same place the Royals did last year. I just like being around all of the guys and seeing what everybody's personality is. I think that's one of the good things about baseball that not everybody realizes."