The Marlins have an extended number of relievers entering spring training, likely a product of the organization’s offseason goal.
Miami wanted to build a “super bullpen” and did so, signing free agents Brad Ziegler and Janichi Tazawa to complement a relief unit that features A.J. Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps. Given the depth the Marlins have, Brian Ellington and Nick Wittgren will likely open the season in Triple-A New Orleans, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
Ramos, Ziegler, Tazawa, Barraclough, Phelps and McGowan all seem to be locks, with Jose Urena, Dan Straily, Jeff Locke also thought to be in the bullpen conversations. That would seemingly would eliminate Wittgren and Ellington, who both have options for the Marlins to work with.
Wittgren, 25, had success with Miami last season, posting a 3.14 ERA and 3.67 FIP over 51.2 innings in relief. Ellington also thrived with the Marlins in 2016, pitching to a 2.45 ERA and 3.63 FIP over 33.0 innings.
Wittgren and Ellington could compete for bullpen spots if veterans struggle, though it seems they are likely to open the season in the minors and add depth to an already established deep bullpen.