Diving into the depths: Florida Marlins

Leave a comment

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.

Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

Getty Images
1 Comment

Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.