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2016 MLB roster outlook: Miami Marlins

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2016 MLB roster outlook: Miami Marlins

2015 record: 71-91, 3rd place in NL East

Manager: Don Mattingly, 1st season

Estimated 2016 payroll: $65 million

Key additions: SP Wei-Yin Chen, 3B Chris Johnson, SP Edwin Jackson

Key losses: SP Henderson Alvarez, SP Dan Haren

Projected lineup

2B Dee Gordon
LF Christian Yelich
RF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Justin Bour
3B Martin Prado
CF Marcell Ozuna
C J.T. Realmuto
SS Adeiny Hechevarria

Projected rotation

RHP Jose Fernandez
LHP Wei-Yin Chen
RHP Jarred Cosart
RHP Tom Koehler
RHP Edwin Jackson

Top relievers

CL A.J. Ramos
RHP Carter Capps
LHP Mike Dunn

Biggest questions entering 2016

1. Can they stay healthy? In Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, the Marlins have two guys that are arguably among the 10 best players in all of baseball. Stanton is an absolute superstar who could someday challenge all-time records. He had 27 homers last season, but was limited to 74 games because of injuries. Fernandez is on the short-list of best pitchers in baseball, but had Tommy John surgery two summers ago and has dealt with some minor injuries since his return. If Stanton and Fernandez are healthy, the Marlins could make the NL East a lot tougher for the Mets and Nationals.

2. Can they improve their starting pitching? The Marlins have Fernandez and one of the best pitchers' parks in baseball, yet they ranked in the bottom half of the league in rotation ERA last season. Of course, Fernandez only being available for 11 starts didn't help that cause, but they will need to be better all-around in order to compete in 2016. They made a nice addition in lefty Wei-Yin Chen this offseason. He could put up All-Star numbers now that he is out of Camden Yards and the AL East. But beyond those two, there are questions. For instance, Edwin Jackson is set to be their No. 5 starter after spending 2015 as a reliever and posting a 5.00 ERA as a starter from 2012-14.

3. Can they keep up with the Mets and Nats? The NL East figures to be a two-team race with the Mets coming off a World Series berth and the Nationals expecting to improve if they can stay healthy. The Phillies and Braves are highly unlikely to compete this year, so that leaves the Marlins as the team with the best chance to surprise. They will have to stay healthy in order to do that with depth on their roster being a major concern. To make matters worse, their farm system is not nearly what it used to be. If the Marlins are to make things interesting in the NL East this year, they will need Stanton and Fernandez to stay on the field. Big years from Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich wouldn't hurt, either.

[Roster info via RosterResource.com]

[RELATED: Nats spring training question No. 5: Who plays shortstop?]

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Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm