The Marlins lack the star power they possessed a year ago. Showtime and Major League Baseball Productions won't be around to document the happenings for "The Franchise" when spring training opens next week, either. That's not to say the team is devoid of compelling story lines. This camp is longer due to the World Baseball Classic, and the Marlins likely will need that extra time to answer some pressing questions. Here are a few of them:
Who will win the club's fifth starter job?
Barring injury, four-fifths of the rotation is set with right-handers Ricky Nolasco, Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi and the newly acquired Henderson Alvarez. That leaves one opening for no less than eight candidates. If the Marlins want to field at least one lefty starter, Wade LeBlanc and Brad Hand might have an edge on the field. Tom Koehler and Alex Sanabia already are on the 40-man roster, but the Marlins have an interesting group of non-roster invitees. John Maine and Kevin Slowey can boast 105 and 90 career major league starts, respectively. Mitch Talbot started 41 games in the majors from 2008-11 before heading to Korea and Doug Mathis can be a swing guy.
Can the Marlins' corner men stay healthy and productive?
Logan Morrison and Placido Polanco are atop the depth chart at their respective positions. Manager Mike Redmond can't confidently count on them playing 150-plus games at first and third. Morrison is coming off his second right knee surgery in as many offseasons and may not be ready for Opening Day. In his absence some combination of Greg Dobbs, Joe Mahoney and Austin Kearns would fill in. Kearns is not on the 40-man roster, but barring a horrific spring he's a good bet to reprise his bench role. Fellow non-roster invitee Kevin Kouzmanoff saw limited action at first in the minors. He's a third baseman by trade and the club's insurance policy, along with Chone Figgins, if the aging Polanco can't stay healthy.
Five Marlins story lines heading into spring training
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Feb 10