Unlike most Marlins fans, I am very excited for the 2013 season and beyond. I see plenty of parallels with the '13 and the '06 Marlins. I do, however, think management should sign at least one more veteran starter and a couple of veteran bullpen pieces, especially a lefty. Is there any chance that will happen?
-- Nico S., Mendoza, Argentina
Besides Ricky Nolasco (30 years old), the rotation projects to be young -- Jacob Turner (21), Nathan Eovaldi (22) and Henderson Alvarez (22). A veteran starter would come either through a trade, the Marlins signing a low-cost free agent or as a non-roster invitee.
As for relievers, this offseason, left-handers Braulio Lara, Edgar Olmos and Scott Maine were added.
Yes, there are similarities between the 2013 and '06 Marlins. If you remember, in '06, Miami didn't go into Spring Training with all the answers. The club created opportunity and made adjustments along the way. Cody Ross joined the team after the season started, and eventually he became a regular.
Obviously, this team isn't built to win the National League East in 2013. Right now, the franchise is putting together what it hopes will be a foundation to build upon for the upcoming seasons.
What are the chances the Marlins will look at signing Freddy Sanchez or Carl Pavano? The Marlins could use an infielder who can hit and play second base. Pavano would be a good veteran presence in the rotation and clubhouse.
-- Nick P., DuBois, Pa.
Chances are neither fits into the retooling of the roster. Sanchez hasn't played in the big leagues since the middle of the 2011 season due to shoulder and back injuries. Pavano made 11 starts last year for the Twins due to a rotator cuff injury. Both players are risks.
Now that Matt Downs and Nick Green have signed Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training, there will be utility-infielder candidates with big league experience in camp.
Donovan Solano showed promise in 2012, and he is getting an opportunity to see if he can handle second base on a regular basis. Sanchez, 35, isn't really a fit right now at second.
A similar scenario holds true with the rotation, where a number of untested candidates will get a look. Pavano is 37. Unless no one already on the roster is up to the task of handling the fifth-starter role, there isn't a need to add a veteran who missed substantial time last year due to injury.
What's the deal with Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez)? Is he a free agent, or will the Marlins wait for him to become healthy and give him a chance?
-- Eddie R., Youngstown, Ohio
A number of fans have asked this question. Yes, Oviedo is a free agent. The right-hander, who didn't pitch at all in the big leagues a year ago, is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so he will not be healthy for much of the upcoming season.
Is it possible the Marlins put Placido Polanco at second base and Zack Cox at third base?
-- Robert, Miami
For that to happen, Cox will have to clearly show he is ready to be a major contributor at third base, and Solano will have to struggle miserably at second.
Cox, 23, will be an interesting player to watch in Spring Training, because he may wind up being the Marlins' regular third baseman a year from now. But he has yet to make it up to the big leagues.
Polanco, 37, was signed to anchor third base and provide a veteran presence. Foremost, the Marlins are hopeful that he will stay healthy. If he doesn't, then you can start to consider the fallback plans.
I'm getting really mad about the rumors concerning Giancarlo Stanton. What is actually going to happen? He is the face of the franchise.
-- Daniel T., Miami
Get used to the rumors, they aren't going to go away. They will only intensify the closer we get to Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic, where the national media will have daily access to Stanton, who will play for Team USA. What's going on is simple -- the Marlins made it clear they will listen to offers on any of their players. But unless they are blown away by an offer for Stanton, they have no plans to move the All-Star right fielder.
So, nothing has changed, nor will it unless there is an actual serious offer, rather than speculation. Personally, I think the Marlins are ready to keep Stanton for 2013, and I'm not ruling out he will be with the club for four more years. He isn't a free agent until after the 2016 season, so there is no rush to move him.
It seems that Kevin Mattison's name keeps getting lost in the shuffle when people discuss possible outfielders for the upcoming season. He's a guy with exceptional speed and he plays great defense. What would it take for him to get a serious look at playing center field for the Marlins?
-- Tommy T., Valdosta, Ga.
Mattison absolutely will get his chance in Spring Training. The 27-year-old is on the 40-man roster, and he got a taste of the big leagues last year, albeit for three games. The reason he isn't getting the same attention as others is experience and production. Justin Ruggiano, Bryan Petersen and Gorkys Hernandez all have more MLB seasoning. That doesn't mean Mattison won't get a shot to win a roster spot, even if it is as a fourth or fifth outfielder.