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.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Saturday’s action

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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It’s the last Clayton Kershaw start of the regular season. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

The Dodgers already have the NL West in the bag, but they’re still fighting for home-field advantage against the Nationals. Should the two teams end up with the same regular season record by Monday morning, the edge will go to the Dodgers, who have a better head-to-head record this year. Kershaw has already been announced as the starter for Game 1 of the NLDS, while the Nationals have kept their lineup close to the vest for the time being.

Facing the Dodgers is Giants’ left-hander Ty Blach, who is poised to make the second major league start of his career this afternoon. The Giants are in a precarious position heading into the last two games of the year and have the potential to force a three-way tie among NL wild card contenders. A thorough breakdown of the wild card and home-field advantage possibilities has been outlined here.

You can find more from Saturday’s action below.

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Phil Klein), 1:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 1:05 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Wade Miley) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 4:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) @ San Francisco Giants (Ty Blach), 4:05 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen) @ Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark), 4:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) @ Cincinnati Reds (Tim Adleman), 4:10 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 4:15 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmerman) @ Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair), 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Hector Santiago) @ Chicago White Sox (James Shields), 7:10 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez), 7:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi) @ Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis), 8:05 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta) @ Colorado Rockies (Jeff Hoffman), 8:10 PM EDT

San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley), 8:10 PM EDT

Houston Astros (Collin McHugh) @ Los Angeles Angels (Tyler Skaggs), 9:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Jharel Cotton) @ Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma), 9:10 PM EDT

Settling the Scores: Friday’s results

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Norichika Aoki #8 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run off of starting pitcher Raul Alcantara #50 of the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Raul Alcantara was in the business of distributing home runs on Friday night.

Robinson Cano caught the tail end of a 94.1 m.p.h. fastball in the first inning, driving it to center field to put the Mariners on the board. In the second, Norichika Aoka found his fourth home run of the year on a similarly-placed heater. The Mariners then targeted Alcantara’s off-speed stuff, picking on the right-hander’s changeup and slider to get two more home runs in the third: the first, another dead-center blast by Cano, and the last, a bomb by Nelson Cruz that popped off the center field wall and survived an umpire review.

Taijuan Walker, who enjoyed the spike in run support from his 3.6 average, was not immune to the home run bug either, giving up the first and only run of the night on Ryon Healy’s 102-m.p.h. home run in the sixth inning.

While Walker excelled at run prevention, he also came one walk shy of hitting a career-high mark, with five walks spread over six innings. Seattle’s bullpen stepped in for three perfect innings to close out the game and, despite six perfect frames from Oakland relievers Zach Neal and Daniel Coulombe, quashed the A’s hopes of closing a four-run gap.

The Mariners’ win on Friday puts them one game back of the wild card; if they take the rest of the series and the Tigers and Blue Jays lose one of their remaining weekend games, the Mariners will tie for the remaining wild card spot. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez on the hill this weekend, winning shouldn’t be an issue. Getting the Blue Jays to collapse against the Red Sox (and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers against the Braves) is another story.

Here are the rest of the box scores from Friday’s games. Keep an eye out for the first modest bat flip of Jose Bautista‘s career, Madison Bumgarner‘s eighth RBI of the year, and the Orioles’ three-homer inning.

Orioles 8, Yankees 1

Marlins 7, Nationals 4

Mets 5, Phillies 1

Cubs 7, Reds 3

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Tigers 6, Braves 2

Rangers 3, Rays 1

Rockies 4, Brewers 1

White Sox 7, Twins 3

Indians 7, Royals 2

Cardinals 7, Pirates 0

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 3

Angels 7, Astros 1

Mariners 5, Athletics 1

Giants 9, Dodgers 3