JUPITER, Fla. -- Building up the organization's talent pool will be an ongoing process for the Marlins. But beginning this week, the attention will also turn to playing.Spring Training launches on Wednesday, as pitchers and catchers begin workouts at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. Full-squad practices get underway on
JUPITER, Fla. -- Building up the organization's talent pool will be an ongoing process for the Marlins. But beginning this week, the attention will also turn to playing.
Spring Training launches on Wednesday, as pitchers and catchers begin workouts at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. Full-squad practices get underway on Feb. 19, with Miami's first Grapefruit League game happening on Feb. 25 against the Cardinals.
After a busy offseason, Miami -- under new ownership -- is finally ready to take the field.
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For the first time since 2002, the Marlins are under new leadership. The ownership group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, assumed control of the club from Jeffrey Loria in early October. After eight straight losing campaigns, including a 77-85 finish in '17, a new directive was given and major roster moves were made.
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Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich were all traded, creating a public backlash from a market that has endured more than its share of roster makeovers.
"I understand the frustration," Jeter said. "But the bottom line, and the way I looked at it was, it's been a challenge for us to get people to the stadium for years. From everything I've heard, that challenge has been because [the Marlins] haven't had a winning product on the field. So if there is not a winning product on the field, you have to make changes."
The Marlins will open camp with 68 players -- including 28 non-roster invitees.
Manager Don Mattingly, entering his third season in Miami, is tasked with the challenge of working with young players and replacing arguably the best outfield in baseball. Braxton Lee, Lewis Brinson and Magneuris Sierra are the only outfielders on the 40-man roster. All three are rookies with minimal big league experience.
Since becoming chief executive officer, Jeter has asked for patience -- noting the big league roster is far from being a finished product.
"I don't use the word, 'rebuild,' because there is a negative connotation with [it]," Jeter said. "I use the word, 'build.' We're building something. ... I've said patience [is important], but [success is] going to happen sooner, rather than later. You're going to be proud of the players we have on the field."
The Marlins made five trades this offseason -- and eight since last June -- which have helped re-stock their farm system with more than 20 players. Many of them will be in Spring Training, including Brinson and Monte Harrison. The two outfielders were part of the Yelich trade with Milwaukee.
According to MLB Pipeline, Brinson and Harrison are Miami's Top 2 prospects, respectively. On Pipeline's Top 100 list, Brinson rates 27th and Harrison is 71st.
Spring Training will also give the Marlins a glimpse of their No. 3-rated prospect, right-hander Sandy Alcantara -- a centerpiece in the Ozuna deal with St. Louis.
Alcantara has top-of-the-rotation potential.
"In order to turn around a franchise, you need talent," Jeter said. "We've acquired some talent."