MIAMI MARLINS

Five Miami Marlins players to watch this season

 

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

1. Logan Morrison: So much hinges on whether Morrison’s knee will be healthy enough after undergoing offseason surgery in time for him to break camp with the Marlins. There’s a chance he might not be ready. If not, the Marlins would more than likely go with newly signed Casey Kotchman to play first base and provide protection in the lineup for young slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

2. Bullpen: There are at least three open spots in the bullpen, if not four. Steve Cishek figures to be the closer, and Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn and Jon Rauch figure to earn spots. After that, it’s wide open, and there is no shortage of job candidates. They include Chad Qualls, Michael Wuertz, Chris Hatcher, Scott Maine, Dan Jennings, A.J. Ramos, Jose Ceda, Braulio Lara and Arquimedes Caminero.

3. The Rule 5 picks: Is there another Dan Uggla lurking on the Marlins this spring, a Rule 5 draft pick capable of landing a roster spot? Outfielder Alfredo Silverio has all the tools. But he missed the entire 2011 season after a serious car accident and will likely start the year on the disabled list. Hard-throwing reliever Braulio Lara is a bigger long-shot, having never pitched above Single A.

4. The fifth starter: The Marlins are relatively certain about four of their five starters in Ricky Nolasco, Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez. It’s the fifth spot that’ll be up for grabs, with Wade LeBlanc, Alex Sanabia and Brad Hand figuring most prominently, though a nonroster invitee such as Kevin Slowey or John Maine, both of whom have big-league experience, could surprise.

5. Jose Fernandez/Christian Yelich: There’s a good chance the Marlins’ two prized prospects will be in camp just long enough to stir the salivary glands before the organization sends them back to the minors for safe keeping. But there’s also a good chance one or both will be called up to the majors later in the season as the Marlins begin to set their sights on the future.

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