Marlins to give Rob Brantly a look behind the plate

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While right-hander Jacob Turner, the biggest piece the Marlins received from the Tigers in last month’s Anibal Sanchez-Omar Infante deal, continues to toil in the minors, the Marlins announced Sunday that they’re going to give his batterymate, Rob Brantly, an opportunity starting Tuesday.

Brantly will be called up to replace fellow catcher Brett Hayes on the roster and presumably will share time with big disappointment John Buck the rest of the way.

Buck, in the middle year of a three-year, $18 million contract, is hitting just .186/.302/.325 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 274 at-bats this season. He figures to play mostly against lefties for now, with the lefty-swinging Brantly getting an opportunity against righties.

Brantly, 23, has hit .298/.340/.412 with five homers and 41 RBI in 362 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A this year. He’s been on fire since the trade, batting .365/.389/.558 with two homers in 52 at-bats for Triple-A New Orleans. While he’ll probably never contend for Gold Gloves or turn into a legitimate middle-of-the-order guy, he could become an average starting catcher in time. At the very least, his decent left-handed bat should lead to a long career as a backup.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves