Marlins roster and schedule
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Miami Marlins roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Miami Marlins roster and schedule:

MARLINS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Marlins roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Jorge Alfaro
Francisco Cervelli

Infielders:

Jesús Aguilar
Isan Díaz
Brian Anderson
Miguel Rojas
Jonathan Villar
Garrett Cooper
Jon Berti

Outfielders:

Lewis Brinson
Corey Dickerson
Matt Joyce
Harold Ramirez
Monte Harrison
Magneuris Sierra

Starters:

Sandy Alcantara
Caleb Smith
Pablo López
José Ureña
Jordan Yamamoto

Relievers:

Brandon Kintzler
Yimi García
Brad Boxberger
Ryne Stanek
Adam Conley
Drew Steckenrider
Stephen Tarpley
Elieser Hernandez


BREAKDOWN:

The Marlins are coming off of a disastrous 57-105 season, their second consecutive fifth-place finish. Their roster is not that much different. They replaced Starlin Castro with the more versatile Jonathan Villar, and added closer Brandon Kintzler, outfielder Corey Dickerson, and the power bat of Jesús Aguilar. Will that be enough to hang with the big dogs in the NL East?

The starting rotation has the potential to be a lot better than most people think. It was decidedly not very good last year, as Sandy Alcantara was the only member of the rotation to post a sub-4.00 ERA. Many rotation members struggled with control — Alcantara, Jordan Yamamoto, and Caleb Smith each averaged at least 3.5 walks per nine innings. However, Yamamoto and Smith also averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings. There’s potential here.

Last season, the Marlins had baseball’s second-worst offense, averaging 3.80 runs per game compared to the 4.83 league average. Adding Villar, Dickerson, and Aguilar will help in that regard but they also need some mainstays to break out. Jorge Alfaro is an obvious candidate, but the most ground could be covered by Lewis Brinson. The former top prospect has a career .531 OPS in 709 major league plate appearances. If he can somehow come anywhere close to league average, that would represent a significant boost in offense for the Marlins.

The bullpen is going to be an issue for the Marlins. Kintzler is solid, but he turns 36 on August 1, has shown inconsistency over his career, and is injury-prone. The Marlins don’t have a good fallback plan if Kintzler falters due to underperformance or injury. Yimi García would seem to be second-in-command but he’s plagued by the same issues as Kintzler. If the Marlins fail to make progress this season, it will likely be because of the bullpen.

MARLINS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 24-26: @ Phillies
  • July 27-28: vs. Orioles
  • July 29-30: @ Orioles
  • July 31-August 2: vs. Nationals
  • August 4-6: vs. Phillies
  • August 7-9: @ Mets
  • August 11-12: @ Blue Jays
  • August 14-16: vs. Braves
  • August 17-20: vs. Mets
  • August 21-24: @ Nationals
  • August 25-27: @ Mets
  • August 28-30: vs. Rays
  • September 1-2: vs. Blue Jays
  • September 4-6: @ Rays
  • September 7-9: @ Braves
  • September 10-13: vs. Phillies
  • September 14-16: vs. Red Sox
  • September 18-20: vs. Nationals
  • September 21-24: @ Braves
  • September 25-27: @ Yankees

The entire Marlins schedule can be seen here.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”