Redmond puts emphasis on Marlins' clean slate
First-year skipper no stranger to transition, sees opportunity to lay foundation
JUPITER, Fla. -- All the introductions are over, and the Marlins are ready to play ball.
Pitchers and catchers, as well as a number of position players, took their physicals on Monday morning. Starting at 10 a.m. ET today, the first pitchers and catchers workouts get under way at the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Full-squad workouts start on Friday, and they are free and open to the public.
First-year manager Mike Redmond, eager to get Spring Training started, arrived at the complex at 5 a.m. Monday.
"We'll go out there tomorrow and start laying out the foundation for the rest of the season," Redmond said. "It's good to see all the guys and finally get to meet some of the guys I've read so much about. We've got a tremendous opportunity for guys in camp. I think everybody realizes that."
Unlike a year ago, when camp opened with high-priced and high-profile players, the Marlins have undergone a complete roster makeover. The team is young, inexperienced and inexpensive. The payroll was slashed to roughly $40 million after being at $100 million a year ago.
Entering their second season at Marlins Park, the Marlins are moving beyond the 69-93 last-place finish of 2012.
For Redmond, the redirect reminds him of when he broke in with Florida as a rookie in 1998. In 1997, the Marlins won the World Series, but they made wholesale changes the following season. With a collection of mostly rookies, the '98 Marlins endured 108 losses. All was not lost, though, in the transition. The nucleus grew and developed into World Series champs in 2003.
Although there are low expectations, Redmond sees no problems with the young players buying into the program, which is developing from the ground up.
"It's a new start. It's a clean slate," he said. "I think it's going to be an easy sell. The sell is the opportunity. There has been so much change, and guys are so young.
"It reminds me a lot of '98, when I got to the big leagues. That just doesn't happen that often. It was a great opportunity for us. Sure, there were good days and bad days, but we all went through it together. When we won the World Series in 2003, it was so satisfying with all that we had gone through."
There will be a couple of team policies for players, like no beards and groomed hair. Goatees are acceptable.
Redmond has two years of managing experience in the Blue Jays' Minor League system. He's passionate, personable and energetic. Part of Redmond's job will be developing and teaching, as well as game-day decisions.
"When you get out on the field and get to talk to guys, and they get a feel for me and my attitude and my energy level, my passion, I don't think it's going to be a tough sell," Redmond said.
With youth comes uncertainty, and until the workouts actually begin, Redmond isn't quite sure about what the team actually has.
"I haven't seen a lot of these guys play, either," Redmond said. "What we're going to do in Spring Training is evaluate and see what we've got. You can read about guys on paper and talk about them in organizational meetings, but until you actually get out on the field and see what guys can do and can't do, that's going to be the true test. There is a lot of opportunity, but we've got to get guys in games, build them up and go from there."
The Marlins will have 38 pitchers and 74 players in camp.
One thing being stressed is that last year is over with. Redmond repeated what president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said a few days ago -- the team isn't rehashing all that went wrong in 2012.
Everything starts fresh.
"It doesn't matter if you didn't pitch last year, I wasn't here," Redmond said. "We're done talking about what happened last year, it's over. We're moving forward, and we're going to talk about day to day what goes on and how we can build this thing back up and head in the right direction. It doesn't matter what you did last year, we're focusing on what you can do for us, and this team in the future, and tomorrow and the day after that."