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What does 2022 Marlins infield depth look like without Eddy Alvarez?

The two-time Olympic medalist opened the new year by announcing that he has signed with the Dodgers organization.

Eddy Alvarez #65 of the Miami Marlins salutes fans before the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at loanDepot park Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

Even when the Marlins squeezed Eddy Alvarez off their 40-man roster following the end of the 2021 regular season, I had a hunch that they would find common ground on a new contract. With a lifetime .380 on-base percentage in the minor leagues and good agility and defensive versatility, there is a legitimate role for the soon-to-be 32-year-old in any organization. The charismatic, switch-hitting infielder regularly professes his love for the South Florida community. For the sake of familiarity, Alvarez would show a preference for the Fish over comparable offers from competitors...right?

Well, Alvarez on Saturday shared the news of his signing with the Dodgers on a minor league deal. It’s unclear how the Marlins’ offer compared to theirs, or if they even made a formal offer at all.

Alvarez was popular among fans and Marlins teammates alike over the course of his three seasons in the system. However, the bottom line is during his 2020 and 2021 major league stints, he didn’t distinguish himself as anything more than a replacement-level player (64 wRC+, 29.6 K% and inconsistent fielding in 36 games). It’s time to turn the page.

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, a team’s depth is as crucial as ever. Even fully vaccinated and boosted MLB players can test positive for the virus at any time and inadvertently spread it in their clubhouses. Although the specific health/safety policies for the 2022 season have yet to be agreed upon, one would assume that infected individuals will be sidelined while they’re at their most contagious, forcing teams to put their trust in backups.

How prepared is the Marlins infield for another year of potential COVID chaos? Assuming that their post-lockout activity focusing on addressing other positions, here are the names to know at first base, second base, third base and shortstop.

Primary 1B: Jesús Aguilar

Next man up: Garrett Cooper

More 40-man roster options: Lewin Díaz

Non-40-man depth: Erik González, Joe Dunand, Lorenzo Quintana, Charles Leblanc

This is the infield spot that’s most likely to look different by the time Opening Day arrives, even if the universal designated hitter is implemented. It’s impractical to clog the 40-man roster with three major league-ready first basemen. Nothing is forcing the Marlins into an Aguilar or Cooper trade, but that’d be the responsible way to manage their assets.

González, a spring training non-roster invitee, will essentially fill Alvarez’s shoes. He’s a little bit younger and a lot more experienced at the highest level, though not necessarily better overall. The Marlins acquired Quintana from the Astros organization in a 2021 midseason trade and plucked Leblanc from the Rangers in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

Primary 2B: Jazz Chisholm Jr.

Next man up: Joey Wendle

More 40-man roster options: Jon Berti, Isan Díaz, José Devers

Non-40-man depth: Erik González, Bryson Brigman, Charles Leblanc, Luis Avilés Jr., Ray-Patrick Didder

Chisholm missed almost a quarter of the 2021 campaign with nagging injuries and the Marlins’ second base production stunk in his absence. The acquisition of Wendle should remedy that. Health permitting, Berti is an obvious bounce-back candidate.

The Marlins did not protect Brigman from the major league phase of the Rule 5, which is expected to take place once the lockout is resolved. Frustrating as it is that he didn’t get a taste of The Show last season, his possible departure won’t really be noticed moving forward with the way this team has been constructed.

Primary 3B: Brian Anderson

Next man up: Joey Wendle

More 40-man roster options: Jon Berti, Isan Díaz

Non-40-man depth: Erik González, Joe Dunand, Charles Leblanc, Luis Avilés Jr.

Anderson’s season-ending surgery was performed on his non-throwing shoulder. His availability for Opening Day shouldn’t be in doubt, but it might take a while for him to rediscover his rhythm at the plate.

Primary SS: Miguel Rojas

Next man up: Joey Wendle

More 40-man roster options: Jon Berti, José Devers

Non-40-man depth: Erik González, Bryson Brigman, Luis Avilés Jr., Ray-Patrick Didder

I am very intrigued by the idea of Rojas and Wendle platooning at shortstop. Miami’s captain hits for considerably more power against left-handed pitching (.135 ISO), and ditto for Wendle against righties (.147 ISO). Don’t be surprised if that happens organically as the 2022 season progresses. For the moment, though, Miggy Ro sits atop the depth chart.