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 For the Florida Marlins despite the turnover from the start of the 2010 season to now, their lineup for the 2011 season is pretty much set and their will not be many position battles this spring.  However, there are still a few positions up for grabs.

matt-dominguez-391x213-20090929.jpg.html3rd BASEMAN

The most obvious hole that the Marlins need to fill is the one at third base. With Cantu gone and the Marlins deciding to go with Coghlan in center and Infate at 2nd, this leave 3rd base open for prospect Matt Dominguez to fill.  Essentially the job will be his to take if he is ready coming out of Spring Trainning, even if he is not ready then he will still be brought up this summer at some point to be the 3rd baseman.  No one has any real doubts the Dominguez will be able to do fine in the field, but the question with him is can he hit?  Dominguez has not had an easy time at the plate in the minor leagues, and he lacks the real power one hopes to get from a corner infielder.  If he can just show some signs of an ability to be productive from the plate this spring training than the job will be his, otherwise it is up to Wes Helms and/or Greg Dobbs.  Most likely if Dominguez begins the year in the minors than the Marlins will platoon third base with Helms and Dobbs giving the starts based on match ups and who is hot.

FOURTH OUTFIELDER

Most of the Marlins competition is going to be roster positions 19-40.  But the last major battle on the 25-man roster could be for the 4th outfielder spot.  This is going to be a three-player battle between Bryan Petersen, Scott Cousins, and Dewayne Wise.  Petersen is most likely the favorite to win the position as he has played that role for the Marlins before, but that does not mean much.  Scott Cousins is a good minor league prospect that the Marlins hope will be come an everyday outfielder in the next year or two.  While he has the most upside of the three players, it does not make sense to have a young guy like him ride the bench in the majors instead of getting more at bats and growing him in the farm system till he is ready.  Dewayne Wise is my personal favorite of the three.  Wise is most known for his amazing center field catch in Mark Behrle’s 2009 perfect game.  Wise is the most experienced of the three players and while he only has a .222 lifetime batting average, he is an outstanding fielder.

59543293CLOSER

The Marlins brought in a lot of new players to try and strengthen their bullpen that was the Achilles heal of this team a season ago.  The two players who were most reliable guys in the bullpen were the setup man and closer Clay Hensley and Leo Nunez.  The two of them combined for a total of 37 saves.  Currently the Marlins still have Leo Nunez listed as their closer, but last year Nunez did blow 8 saves and had a knack for getting into trouble giving up almost a hit an inning (62 hits in 65 innings pitched).  Meanwhile mainly as a setup man Hensley had fewer hits, walks, home runs allowed, and a lower ERA (2.16) despite pitching more innings (75).  Hensley also had 7 saves and blew 3 saves.  Leo was planned to be the closer going into 2010 and Hensley was someone who took most people by surprise.  For 2011 the Marlins will no doubt start off the year with Leo Nunez as the closer and Clay Hensley being the setup man, but if Nunez struggles at all the Marlins maybe quick to reverse their roles.

FINAL BULLPEN SPOT

The Florida Marlins have much of their bullpen spots ready to go going into the season.  Clay Hensley, Leo Nunez, Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, Edward Muijca, and Randy Choate are all going to be there, but that leave one final spot open.  It will come down to either Burke Badenhop or Brian Sanches.  Both are right handed and in a poor bullpen both pitched well.  Of the two, Sanches had the better year last year with 12 holds and a 2.26 ERA and has the lower career ERA (3.45 compared to Badenhop's career 4.43 career ERA).  Going my the numbers on the field it seems pretty obvious that Sanches is the choice, but the numbers off the field may be the one to decide this one at the start of the year.  Thanks to arbitration Badenhop is going to be paid more than Saches who is still a year away from arbitration.  If this were the Yankees or Red Sox the money would not matter and whoever is the better player wil play, but for the Marlins who have a payroll of less than 1/3 of those teams money may decide who gets this final spot unless their is a huge discrepancy in play this spring.  

340xTheir will be other spots on the bench that their will be competition for, but for the most part we know who is going to win these positions.  John Baker and Brett Hayes are going to be player for the backup catcher spot, and while both are coming back from injuries it is pretty clear that Baker is going to win the positon.  John Baker was the opening day starter last year and has played well in his time in the majors.  Baker has the most chemistry with the Marlins pitching staff and it is highly doubful the guy is going to go from starter to minor league player on the same time in a one year span.  Also you will see players like Donnie Murphy, Greg Dobbs, Emilio Bonifacio, and Ozzie Matinez all fighting for the last 2 Marlins bench spots.  Murphy, although coming back from injury, played very well when he was with the Marlins last year and if he is healthy he should beat out veterans Greg Dobbs.  Ozzie Martinez played very well in his time filling in for Hanley last year, but he will probably start off the year in the minor leagues.  Fact is while Ozzie is better than Emilio at the plate, Ozzie is a middle infielder while Emilio can play 2nd, SS, 3rd, and OF.  The kind of utility and his speed on the base path is what will let Emilio Binifacio keep his bench job for now.

PROJECTED 2011 LINEUP:

  1. 2B Omar Infante--R
  2. CF Chris Coglan--L
  3. SS Hanley Ramirez--R
  4. RF Mike Stanton--R
  5. LF Logan Morrison--L
  6. 1B Gaby Sanchez--R
  7. C John Buck--R
  8. 3B Matt Dominguez--R
  • C John Baker--L
  • 3B/1B Wes Helms--R
  • Utl Emilio Bonifacio-- Switch
  • OF Dewayne Wise-- L
  • INF Donnie Murphy--R
  1. SP Josh Johnson--RHP
  2. SP Ricky Nolasco--RHP
  3. SP Javier Vazquez--RHP
  4. SP Anibal Sanchez--RHP
  5. SP Chris Volstad--RHP
  • RP Mike Dune--LHP
  • RP Ryan Webb--RHP
  • RP Edward Mujica--RHP
  • RP Randy Choate--LHP
  • RP Brian Sanches--RHP
  • Setup Clay Hensley--RHP
  • Closer Leo Nunez--RHP