The Miami Marlins, who won 62 games last season and routinely trotted out a regular season lineup featuring players like Jeff Mathis, Donovan Solano and 37-year-old Placido Polanco, are apparently in a tizzy over the spring training lineup the Red Sox put together for Thursday's Grapefruit League game in Jupiter, Fla. That's according to the Sun-Sentinel's Marlins beat reporter Juan C. Rodriguez, who wrote that team executives were "outraged" over the squad of minor leaguers that Boston sent to Miami's Roger Dean Stadium to play a team that will feature 36-year-old Rafael Furcal at second base in games that actually count.
Seven of the club’s starting nine position players Thursday do not have so much as one major league plate appearance. The only two with any big league time were outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (95 at-bats) and catcher Ryan Lavarnway (269 at-bats).
Even starting pitcher Allen Webster was a rookie in 2013, making eight appearances (seven starts) totaling 30 1/3 innings.
Rodriguez also reported that the Marlins planned on contacting MLB's offices over what he called a "gross violation" of the league's rules that specify all spring lineups must feature at least four regular players or players competing for regular playing time. Instead, the Red Sox sent a squad featuring the likes of prospects Deven Marrero and Heiker Meneses as starters. The Marlins, meanwhile, had a lineup that featured seven of their likely Opening Day starters, including Furcal, who has not played in the majors since 2012; third baseman Casey McGehee, who spent all of 2013 in Japan; and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who was the worst player in baseball last season by WAR (-1.9).
Rodriguez also notes that Boston's lineup was especially galling given that the Marlins had instigated "super premium" pricing for tickets to Thursday's game against the defending World Series champion, only to watch "organizational filler in Red Sox batting practice jerseys with numbers befitting an offensive line" face a team that, in 2013, charged its fans to watch Ed Lucas compile nearly 400 plate appearances for a team that finished 34 games out of first place in the National League East.
It's unclear if MLB will take action against the Red Sox for playing loose with the four regulars rule and instead sending minor leaguers fighting to get noticed by important team officials to a meaningless game that was 140 miles away from Boston's spring camp as most of southwest Florida was under a tornado watch.
Thursday's game between the Marlins and Red Sox was called after eight innings due to rain with both teams tied at zero. Boston's lineup out-hit Miami's, 7-2.JAFFE: 2014 relief pitching boom and bust candidates