Spring Training: Stories of Redemption and Reclamation Many with Marlins

sHmtYWwJust looking over the roster for Spring Training with the Marlins, many will recognize some of the faces but many will also fail to recognize many more. There are some familiar ones: Juan Pierre, Giancarlo Stanton, Ricky Nolsaco. There are many that will need some guidance for fans: Alfredo Silverio, Sam Dyson, Joe Mahoney.

Yet one thing is consistent this spring; no matter who is in camp it is most likely they are there to redeem themselves or reclaim their MLB careers. Well, that is pretty much anyone other than Stanton anyway.

Alfredo Silverio, the Marlins Rule 5 Draft pick from the Dodgers, was in a horrific car accident this time a year ago, heading into Dodgers camp looking to establish himself as an everyday major leaguer and getting ready to lock down an outfield spot. The young player had shown great promise across the board – he could play defense, could run, and could hit with power and had pretty good contact skills. This summer, he is expected to make the Marlins 25 man roster (or he will revert back to the Dodgers organization) and with his speed, he could play anywhere in the OF defensively. Will he be able to reclaim his career?

Chone Figgins was supposed to be in the final year of a mega contract he signed back in 2010 with the Seattle Mariners. Instead, the Mariners paid him the $8M they owed him for this upcoming season and told  him to go away. He has been invited to spring with the Marlins on a minor league contract and if he makes the team, is only owed the league minimum. Still, even though the speedy utility player (who has played a lot of third base) has had a horrific three year stint with the Mariners, his move to Miami offers him a change of scenery and camaraderie with buddy Juan Pierre – who has recently returned to the Marlins in the twilight of his career to help this team. Will Figgins be able to redeem himself and the money he was expected to earn? Will he be able to reclaim a future career here in south Florida, or anywhere in MLB?

There are many in this scenario. Joe Mahoney, former minor league player of the year with the Orioles, is looking to redeem himself. Kevin Kouzmanoff, a solid third baseman for years in Kansas City, is looking to reclaim his career. John Maine, a one blue-chipped prospect with the Orioles and eventually a solid pro with the Mets, hasn’t pitched in the bigs in 2 years but had looks from the Rockies, Red Sox, and Yankees. Matt Downs had a solid 2011 campaign with the Astros but hitting .202 last season landed him in Miami trying to reclaim his career.

The key thing here is getting a bunch of competitive players in camp, all trying to win spots and prove themselves, in order to change the atmosphere of this team. Last season, there were unreal expectations poured upon this team just because they signed some checks. We see now, a year later, that those checks could not be cashed. It was a Ringling-style PR campaign that went wild, whatever the intentions, and this team flamed out before even Showtime could all it a “rap” on their reality show.

Logan Morrison, who most likely will be out for the first month of the season and also will be looking to redeem himself after a season of hobbled injuries and high expectations, said it loud and clear. This team is the hungriest in baseball. No one has guarantees beyond this season; everyone is playing for a new deal, more money, or just trying to prove themselves and to win. Whatever the feelings are about this past offseason or even last season, this team is different and the fans will notice a more intense bunch as led by new manager, and former Marlin champion, Mike Redmond. If there was a fuel that could drive players, it would best be that of redemption. It certainly makes for a better story. If this 2013 team can win, they just may, as a team, redeem themselves to their fans as well.