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New-look Marlins set for team building to begin

Skipper Mattingly 'excited about what's going on'
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Winding down an offseason of wheeling and dealing, the new-look Marlins are finally getting closer to taking the field. Miami opens Spring Training with pitchers and catchers workouts on Feb. 14 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Under new ownership, the organization is committed to building a sturdy foundation from the bottom up. The construction process is well underway, but it remains a work in progress.

MIAMI -- Winding down an offseason of wheeling and dealing, the new-look Marlins are finally getting closer to taking the field. Miami opens Spring Training with pitchers and catchers workouts on Feb. 14 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Under new ownership, the organization is committed to building a sturdy foundation from the bottom up. The construction process is well underway, but it remains a work in progress.

Since the day the ownership group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter took control, it preached patience.

Spring Training information

"Every move that we've made was a strategic move," chief executive officer Jeter said in December. "We're trying to build something. We're not just going to make decisions and make moves off the cuff. We're not going to be emotional and make decisions. We're building for the future."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

After eight straight losing seasons, the Marlins have broken up a core of popular and productive players. They've been at the forefront of the Hot Stove season, trading Dee Gordon to the Mariners, Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals and Christian Yelich to the Brewers.

In each of these moves, the Marlins netted a number of high-end prospects -- seven of whom are ranked by MLB Pipeline in the Top 10 of Miami's Top 30 prospect list. Six of the group will be in Spring Training, including its top three -- outfielders Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison and right-hander Sandy Alcantara.

Brinson is 27th on Pipeline's Top 100 list, while Harrison is 71st.

Video: Lewis Brinson discusses joining the Marlins

"We needed to make some changes to build our organization, to create more depth to allow us to win on a consistent basis," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said after the Yelich trade, "to have an organization that has the layers of depth to have sustainable winning, and consistent winning, on an annual basis."

Spring Training will feature many new faces, and more could be added to the mix before Opening Day.

Full-squad workouts are set for Feb. 19, while the first Grapefruit League game will be on Feb. 23.

The Marlins have had more than their share of makeovers. This is their third significant roster reset since 2005. What's different, the new regime insists, is the organization being committed to planning for long-term success. In recent years, the plan changed radically from season to season.

Manager Don Mattingly is entering his third campaign with the organization. But due to the new direction, it will basically be like a fresh start. In his first two seasons, the team was expected to contend. Now, there will be more of a focus on development and progression.

The lineup still has a number of holes to fill, with the most glaring being the outfield. Brinson and Magneuris Sierra have tremendous potential, yet minimal big league experience. They are projected to be part of the future core, but they may need more Minor League seasoning.

It's also unclear if catcher J.T. Realmuto, the subject of trade rumors, will be with the club on Opening Day. He could be dealt beforehand.

"For me, I'm excited about what's going on," Mattingly said at the Winter Meetings. "We're going to build this organization from the bottom to the top -- and it's going to be consistent and we're going to stay with it. It's an exciting time for me from that standpoint."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.

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