Restoring the rosters: No. 16 – Florida

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This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
The Marlins are known for developing young talent and then spinning the players once they begin to get expensive. But the talent that comes in via trades doesn’t help them here. As far as procuring talent through the draft and internationally, they’re a middle-of-the-road team, as they’ve managed to surround the superstars with surprisingly little depth.
Rotation
Josh Beckett
Josh Johnson
Chris Volstad
Scott Olsen
Rick VandenHurk
Bullpen
Ronald Belisario
Logan Kensing
Jason Vargas
Randy Messenger
Ryan Tucker
Tim Wood
Yorman Bazardo
Two studs, an impressive youngster and that’s really it. The bullpen is about as poor as any in these rankings, even in light of Belisario’s breakthrough season with the Dodgers. After Volstad, the choices for the rotation were Olsen, VandenHurk, Sean West and a broken down Nate Robertson. West will probably be a legitimate fourth starter by this time next year, and he has considerable upside going forward. There isn’t a whole lot of promise after that, though.
Lineup
2B Luis Castillo
CF Randy Winn
1B Adrian Gonzalez
LF Miguel Cabrera
RF Josh Willingham
3B Chris Coghlan
SS Alex Gonzalez
C Brett Hayes
Bench
SS Edgar Renteria
OF Jeremy Hermida
1B-OF Mark Kotsay
C-INF Gaby Sanchez
C-1B Jeff Bailey
There are several directions in which one could go here. I’ve opted for offense in the corners and the best defense up the middle. Obviously, one has to make room for both Adrian Gonzalez and Cabrera, and I chose to go with Cabrera in left field and Coghlan at third base, though one could argue that they should swap positions. Or for Cabrera at third, Willingham in left and Hermida in right.
I think Alex Gonzalez is a better player than Renteria right now, though I may be in the minority there.
Catcher is a big problem, but it’s too late for a Charles Johnson comeback now. Willingham, Sanchez and Bailey are all former Marlins prospects who have moved off the position, for good reasons in every case. Still, it’d probably be worth seeing whether either Sanchez or Bailey could handle a pitching staff. Hayes is a decent enough defender, but he’s a 25-year-old hitting .246/.284/.337 in Triple-A.
If Bailey can’t catch because of his old physical issues, he’d be bumped off the roster in favor of Ross Gload or Kevin Millar.
Summary
The Marlins have three more very talented corner players on the way in Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Matt Dominguez, but they’ve really struggled to develop pitching and it probably hasn’t helped that they’ve been guilty of rushing arms through the system. They can’t complain about bad luck when they’ve come up with both Johnson and Volstad during the decade, but they’ve run through so many other arms and haven’t come up with any durable fourth starters or quality relievers. Having a couple of additional legitimate major league arms would have gone a long way towards boosting their playoff chances this year.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.