JUPITER (CBSMiami) – After one of the most tumultuous offseasons in team history, the Miami Marlins’ pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training at the team’s facility in Jupiter, Florida, hoping to start anew with a discouraged fanbase.
The Marlins will have a total of 74 players in camp, including 38 pitchers, when the full team reports later this week. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Friday.
New Marlins manager Mike Redmond’s job will be one of the toughest in the majors this season. Redmond, a former Marlins catcher, is tasked with taking a roster devoid of much major league caliber talent and turning it into a respectable team in 2013, while building for the future.
For Redmond, the biggest challenge may be trying to associate a name with a face. The Marlins went through a dramatic roster overhaul in the offseason, primarily through a controversial trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Marlins sent star pitcher Josh Johnson, shortstop Jose Reyes and other talent to the Blue Jays for several prospects from the Jays’ minor league system. The Marlins had previously traded the mercurial Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers for prospects during the regular season.
While most of the prospects will not start out on the Marlins major league squad, many are expected to be key contributors sooner, rather than later.
“Really, what I want to see is, I want to see guys play,” Redmond told Marlins.com “I want to see what guys have got, and see what we can do to help develop them and make them better. I think that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
With pitchers the first in town, the Marlins are looking for a fifth starter behind a projected top four rotation of Ricky Nolasco, Jacob Turner, Henderson Alvarez, and Nathan Eovaldi. Among the possibilities for the fifth starter are Wade LeBlanc, Brad Hand, Alex Sanabia, and others.
Combined, the Marlins’ projected first four pitchers in the rotation had an ERA of 4.84 in 2012, which may not bode well for 2013’s prospective finish.
In the bullpen, Miami is set with Steve Cishek as the team’s closer. The setup job will likely have a rotation of Jon Rauch, Ryan Webb, and Mike Dunn, according to Marlins.com.
An interesting note about Rauch, he may be the tallest player in the Majors at 6’11” and 290 pounds. He pitched 57.2 innings last year for the Mets and struck out 42 while walking 12.
Redmond said he feels no pressure because heading into 2013, the Marlins have nothing to lose.
“It’s fun to have young players,” Redmond said. “They energize you. They’re just starting their careers, and you want all of them to have lengthy careers.”