Veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, in camp with the Marlins on a minor league contract, is expected to break camp with the team, per SiriusXM’s Craig Mish (Twitter link). Granderson has a March 15 opt-out clause in his contract, Mish reports, adding that the Marlins “will add him” to the roster by that point. Granderson, who turns 38 the day after that opt-out provision, split the 2018 season between the Blue Jays and the Brewers and posted a combined .242/.351/.431 batting line with 13 home runs, 22 doubles and a pair of triples in 403 plate appearances. He’ll join some combination of Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra, Austin Dean and Peter O’Brien in the outfield now that Brian Anderson is slated to return to third base. Fellow non-roster options for the Marlins include the likes of Isaac Galloway, Harold Ramirez and Gabriel Guerrero. Prospects Monte Harrison and Victor Victor Mesa, meanwhile, are ticketed for further development in the minors.
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- Miami has yet to determine how veteran righty Sergio Romo will be utilized this season, writes Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. Romo is open to pitching in any role, and the Marlins aren’t closed off to the idea of using an “opener” in front of some of their younger rotation pieces, including Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Richards, McPherson notes. Romo could also figure into high-leverage spots late in games, although McPherson notes that manager Don Mattingly has suggested the team may not utilize a traditional closer in 2019. The Rays bounced Romo between opening games, closing games and pitching in a setup role last season, and it seems the 36-year-old is in for more of the same this coming year.
- Right-hander Nick Neidert is likely to open the 2019 season in Triple-A New Orleans, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes, but the 22-year-old stands out as a candidate for an early promotion to the Majors this season. Neidert, acquired from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon swap, has yet to even pitch in Triple-A but notched a 3.24 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 45.9 percent ground-ball rate in 152 2/3 innings at the Double-A level last season. Though he doesn’t boast a power fastball, Neidert’s four-pitch mix, strong changeup and excellent control (career 1.7 BB/9 in the minors) help to make up for his lack of velocity. “Nick’s a guy who basically can hit all four quadrants, and he’s got different weapons for different guys,” said Mattingly of Neidert. At present, the Marlins have Jose Urena, Dan Straily, Wei-Yin Chen, Sandy Alcantara, Richards, Smith and Lopez as rotation options to open the season, though Smith is working his way back from surgery to repair a Grade 3 lat tear. Chen, meanwhile, has been clobbered thus far in camp after pitching to a 4.79 ERA in 133 1/3 innings last season. Given the level of uncertainty in the Miami rotation, Neidert (and others) could have ample opportunity to get a look in the Majors with a strong showing early in the year.