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.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.