Marlins boss excited about events, new arms

Marlins boss excited about events, new arms

JUPITER, Fla. -- Presidents Day falls on the week the Marlins are scheduled to open their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

As the players and coaches gear up for game action, president of baseball operations Michael Hill sees plenty of reasons for optimism in 2017.

MLB.com asked Hill to provide his three main messages to Marlins fans going into the season, and his hopefulness touches upon the field and the ballpark.

"On Presidents Day, the fans of South Florida should be extremely excited for three reasons," Hill said.

The World Baseball Classic and All-Star Game will be played at Marlins Park this year, and the organization has retained its promising core position players while adding more overall pitching depth.

"This should be an exciting year at Marlins Park, starting with the World Baseball Classic, and the All-Star Game this summer on July 11," Hill said. "So there's going to be lots of activity at Marlins Park."

Marlins Park will host first-round action of the World Baseball Classic from March 9-13. Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton and A.J. Ellis will represent Team USA, and right-hander Edinson Volquez will pitch for the Dominican Republic.

"Secondly, we've had a great offseason," Hill said. "We've decided to build to our exciting core of position players. Dee Gordon is back. Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto. We have a great group of young, talented position players who are ready to take that next step."

Perhaps the most significant offseason move was to sign third baseman Martin Prado, who could have become a free agent but instead decided to return to Miami.

"Lastly, I think we've built ourselves the strongest pitching staff that we've had in a long time," Hill said. "When you look at the rotation pieces that we've added -- trading for Dan Straily, signing Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke. When you look at the bullpen, we were able to add Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa to go along with A.J. Ramos, David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough. A lot to be excited about in South Florida."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.