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Familiar faces set to play in the 2022 Caribbean Series

Remember these Marlins players? They’ll be battling for a championship this week.

Venezuela pitcher (and former Miami Marlin) Henderson Alvarez pitches against Taiwan during Premier 12 group B of the WBSC in Taichung Photo by ALEX LEE/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on Friday, champions of the domestic winter leagues in the Dominican Republic (Gigantes del Cibao), Colombia (Caimanes de Barranquilla), México (Charros de Jalisco), Panamá (Astronautas de Los Santos), Puerto Rico (Criollos de Caguas) and Venezuela (Navegantes del Magallanes) will compete in the Caribbean Series. It’s being hosted in the D.R. capital of Santo Domingo and exclusively televised on ESPN Deportes.

The six-team tournament is traditionally situated near the dawn of the Major League Baseball season, only days away from when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. However, the 2022 edition arrives in the midst of a lockout. With the strong likelihood of MLB spring training activities being pushed back, players don’t necessarily have to choose between participating in this and preparing for camp in the U.S. That has augmented the talent on Serie del Caribe rosters.

Browsing through each country’s roster, I’ve compiled a bunch of names of interest to Marlins fans.

Currently playing for the Marlins organization: RHP Huascar Brazobán (Dominican Republic), C Santiago Chávez (México)

I analyzed Brazobán here when Miami signed him earlier this month. After a dominant 2021-22 regular season for Gigantes del Cibao (1 ER in in 19.2 IP), he fell back down to earth during their playoff run (only struck out three of 35 batters faced). Brazobán is expected to open his age-32 campaign with Triple-A Jacksonville.

The quintessential defensive-minded catcher (lifetime .191/.247/.242 minor league slash line), Chávez should reprise his 2021 role as the Jacksonville/Pensacola backup.

Former Marlins greats: RHP Henderson Álvarez (Venezuela), OF Marcell Ozuna (Dominican Republic)

National League All-Star selections near the end of the Jeffrey Loria era, these two are attempting to re-establish themselves.

Various injuries have limited Álvarez to seven MLB starts over the last seven seasons. His pitch-to-contact approach is no longer in vogue around the majors. Ozuna, on the other hand, was flying high at this time a year ago as an elite run producer. He has since been derailed by fractured fingers and a domestic violence incident. The Braves still owe him $53 million.

Other Old Friends: Alejandro De Aza (Venezuela), Sandy León (Colombia), Jhan Mariñez (Dominican Republic), Harold Ramirez (Colombia), Jordany Valdespin (Dominican Republic)

Each of these guys spent two or fewer seasons on the Marlins active roster, never appearing in postseason games or getting sufficient playing time to qualify for batting/ERA titles. But there were nice moments.

Harold won MVP honors this winter in his native Colombia (a league that admittedly isn’t as competitive as most of the others).