Diving into the depths: Florida Marlins

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Florida Marlins
Rotation
1. Josh Johnson
2. Ricky Nolasco
3. Anibal Sanchez
4. Chris Volstad
5. Andrew Miller
6. Sean West
7. Rick VandenHurk
8. Ryan Tucker
9. Hayden Penn
10. Burke Badenhop
11. Graham Taylor
Barring a surprising addition, it will be a three- or four-man competition for the final two spots in Florida’s rotation this spring. I have Volstad as the clear favorite for one of the two spots. VandenHurk should take a backseat to Miller and West for the other job, but he’s out of options, something that could really help his case.
Bullpen
1. Leo Nunez
2. Dan Meyer
3. Brian Sanches
4. Renyel Pinto
5. Burke Badenhop
6. Cristhian Martinez
7. Taylor Tankersley
8. Tim Wood
9. Rick VandenHurk
10. Jose Veras
11. Derrick Turnbow
12. Clay Hensley
13. Hunter Jones
14. Scott Strickland
15. Ryan Tucker
16. Chris Leroux
17. Jay Buente
18. Jose Ceda
The Marlins were on the lookout for an inexpensive closer, but no one has been cheap enough yet. As is, it appears to be Nunez’s job. There should be five near locks for the pen unless Pinto is traded. The veterans could leap over Martinez and Wood with strong springs, but there’s no reason to pencil in names like Veras and Turnbow yet.


Catcher
1. John Baker
2. Ronny Paulino
3. Brett Hayes
First base
1. Logan Morrison
2. Gaby Sanchez
3. Jorge Cantu
4. Wes Helms
Second base
1. Dan Uggla
2. Chris Coghlan
3. Emilio Bonifacio
4. Danny Richar
5. Brian Barden
6. Donnie Murphy
Third base
1. Jorge Cantu
2. Emilio Bonifacio
3. Wes Helms
4. Brian Barden
5. Jorge Jimenez
6. Donnie Murphy
Shortstop
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Emilio Bonifacio
3. Brian Barden
4. Donnie Murphy
It looks like the Marlins are leaning towards keeping Cantu at third and letting the youngsters battle it out for the first-base job. It would assure a weak infield defense, but that’s typical of the Marlins.
I’m putting Morrison ahead of Sanchez, based on comments from the team that they think he’s ready for the majors. Sanchez has the more extensive track record and would hit for more power, but Morrison could offer more in the way of OBP and defense.
Left field
1. Chris Coghlan
2. Brett Carroll
3. Emilio Bonifacio
4. Jai Miller
5. Scott Cousins
Center field
1. Cameron Maybin
2. Brett Carroll
3. Cody Ross
4. Emiliano Bonifacio
Right field
1. Cody Ross
2. Brett Carroll
3. Mike Stanton
4. Scott Cousins
A fourth outfielder who can hit is still a need. Carroll’s incredible defensive numbers justify his spot on the roster, but it’d be nice if the Marlins had another fallback in case of injury or a poor showing from Maybin.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.