MLB Miami Marlins

5 Miami Marlins Who Won’t Make It Through 2014 Spring Training

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5 Miami Marlins Who Won't Make it Through 2014 Spring Training

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins spent the 2013 season evaluating their roster and figuring out who was in the long-term plans. Going into the season, there were very few spots to be won on the roster. They signed veterans like Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre and Jeff Mathis to hold down spots that they had no answer for right away.

They brought up youngsters like Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Derek Dietrich and Jake Marisnick during 2013. Fernandez won the NL Rookie of the Year award and Yelich and Ozuna proved they belonged in the big leagues. Dietrich and Marisnick had the opportunities to lock down a job, but failed to do so and will probably begin the year in Triple-A.

Miami sports a solid rotation in spots one through four, but will need to find a No. 5 starter. Fernandez will start Opening Day and will likely be followed by Nate Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner. The front runner for the No. 5 spot is Tom Koehler with Brad Hand, Brian Flynn and Kevin Slowley in contention. Whoever wins the spot is likely holding a place for top prospect Andrew Heaney.

The starting lineup is pretty well set with the additions of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Casey McGehee, Garrett Jones and Rafael Furcal. Yelich and Ozuna will make up two-thirds of the outfield along with slugger Giancarlo Stanton, and shortstop will be filled by Adeiny Hechevarria. Barring injury, the only spots available will be on the bench for position players.

The bullpen should have a decent amount of openings. Steve Cishek will close and Mike Dunn and A.J. Ramos are guaranteed to make the team. Newly acquired Carter Capps is expected to be a late-inning reliever and Dan Jennings could make the roster as a lefty reliever. The Marlins usually go with seven relievers, so that leaves two spots open and a mix of prospects and veterans fighting for them.

With most of the roster set, these five guys are not likely to make it through Spring Training with the ball club.

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5. Ed Lucas

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Ed Lucas spent 10 years in the minor leagues without ever getting a call up until last season. After suffering injuries to Adeiny Hechevarria, Donovan Solano and Nick Green, Miami decided to call up the 31-year-old Lucas and give him his first shot. Lucas hit .256 in 94 games and played almost every position on the field. He instantly became a fan favorite because of his story and professionalism, so it would be tough to cut him. However, after signing two or three new infielders to start and bringing back Greg Dobbs and Solano off the bench, he will need help if he wants to make the team. If they decide to keep three infielders on the bench, it will be between Lucas and Ty Wigginton for the final spot.

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4. Joe Benson

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The Marlins signed Joe Benson as a potential right handed outfielder to come off the bench. Their starting outfield is set and Brian Bogusevic will likely make the team as a fourth outfielder. With Jake Marisnick needing more seasoning in the minors, Benson has a chance to be the fifth outfielder. However, he is not currently on the 40-man roster and it is more likely that Kyle Jensen or Jimmy Paredes would be selected over him.

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3. Rob Brantly

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Rob Brantly went into the 2013 season as the starting catcher and long-term solution for the Marlins behind the plate. However, after struggling to hit and being one of the worst defensive catchers, he was sent down to the minors and never regained his starting spot. With the Marlins signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brantly no longer figures into the plans. Saltalamacchia struggles against lefties, so it is more likely that Jeff Mathis would be the backup and not Brantly.

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2. Chris Hatcher

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Chris Hatcher has had three years to improve as a reliever and has yet to make an impact. The hard-throwing former catcher hasn't developed a solid No. 2 pitch and this may be his final camp with the team. Hatcher is 29 years old and has a career ERA of 7.22. With young, hard-throwing delivers coming up behind him, he will need to be extremely impressive to make the roster.

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1. Josh Spence

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Josh Spence comes into spring training as a non roster invitee for the Miami Marlins. As a lefty reliever, he always has a chance to make an impact and possibly be on the roster. However, with Mike Dunn guaranteed to make a spot, he will have to out pitch Dan Jennings and Edgar Olmos by a wide margin to make the team since they are both younger and on the 40-man roster.