Marlins GM Kim Ng updates the roster shuffling
Injuries to catcher Jorge Alfaro and center fielder Starling Marte have the Marlins scrambling to round out their active roster. Here’s a look at how the moves are connected, and players to focus on.
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
The wear and tear of the season is now impacting the Marlins.
After a relatively healthy Spring Training, Miami has been hit by some significant injuries. Center fielder Starling Marte (non-displaced left rib fracture) and catcher Jorge Alfaro (left hamstring) have gone on the 10-day injury list this week.
Additionally, right-hander Nick Neidert, who struggled logging innings in his three starts, was optioned to the Alternate Training Site in Jacksonville on Wednesday. The right-hander was lifted after three innings in Tuesday’s 7-5 loss to the Orioles. In three starts, he has thrown 12 innings, with a 6.75 ERA.
On Wednesday, the Marlins went with a 25-man roster in the series finale with Baltimore. They most likely will add a relief pitcher for the start of their road trip, which begins on Thursday night at San Francisco.
Sandy Leon had his contract selected on Wednesday from the alternate site, and he started behind the plate.
It will be interesting to see how the Marlins split playing time between Leon and Chad Wallach, who is more suited as a backup.
General manager Kim Ng, via Zoom on Wednesday, noted the organization feels covered at catcher, for now.
Still, they’ve discussed possible options on the market.
“We’ve talked about it,” Ng said. “Now, we think we’re sufficiently covered. I think, as we go through this season, we’re always looking for additions, to make sure that we’re covered. But right now, I think we’re fine.”
Marte’s injury occurred on Sunday, and on Tuesday, Lewis Brinson was called up from the ATS. The Marlins are giving Brinson a long look filling in for Marte.
The time is now for Brinson, who will be out of options next year.
The one prospect to keep an eye on is JJ Bleday. Not so much to see if Bleday is ready to be added to the big league roster. More so, pay attention to how the Marlins intend to give him work this season.
Not on the 40-man roster, Bleday is at the ATS in Jacksonville, getting his reps. Ng said there’s been no decision yet on which affiliate the left-handed hitting outfielder will start off with.
“JJ is doing fine at the ATS,” Ng said. “The reports have been decent. But again, I think these guys need to get their reps. That’s exactly what they’re doing.”
Not just Bleday, but with all the prospects, remember there was no Minor League season in 2020. The Minor League season is scheduled to start on May 4.
“One of the things we’ve acknowledged is last year, not having that season, it has really hurt us,” Ng said. “It’s hurt all of us. We’re really trying to make sure that our guys can get as many reps, as many innings as possible. That’s our approach this season.”
Starting pitching options:
Quick updates on a few of the Marlins’ starters.
Left-hander Braxton Garrett, a candidate to replace Neidert in the rotation, is on the 40-man roster. The club’s first-round pick in 2016, Garrett made two starts at the big league level in 2020.
“We told him to just be ready,” Ng said. “To get yourself as prepared as you could, and just be ready, if we ever need that call.”
Ng gave some injury updates regarding potential starters.
Elieser Hernandez (right biceps tendon inflammation) has been throwing off flat ground, and the hope is he will throw off the mound next week.
Sixto Sanchez (shoulder) is being handled carefully.
“We’re definitely still a bit ways out,” Ng said of the club’s top prospect.
2B Jazz Chisholm Jr.:
The energetic rookie led off for the first time on Wednesday, and singled in his first at-bat.
“Jazz is a dynamic player,” Ng said. “He has different weapons in his tool box that he can bring out at any time. I think, to see him play at the big league level in regular season games now for a couple of weeks is exciting. I do think he’s a very good player, and can’t wait to see more of him, and if he manages to keep this level of consistency.”
2B Isan Diaz:
After Chisholm won the second base job, Isan Diaz was optioned to the ATS, where he is getting ready for the season.
Most of his work in the field is at second base, but he’s also seeing some time at third.
“He’s been up there, getting his at-bats,” Ng said of the ATS. “He’s trying to keep himself ready, ready for that call, if we need him. He’s playing a lot of second right, with an occasional day at third.”