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Marlins add 20-year-old pitching prospect Jose Fernandez to opening day roster

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(AP)

With teams putting the finishing touches on their on opening day rosters Sunday, we knew we were probably in for a surprise or two.

The biggest of those surprises (at least so far) came courtesy of the Miami Marlins, who announced that 20-year-old pitching prospect Jose Fernandez will start the season in the big leagues and make his debut on April 7 against the New York Mets.

Now, before everyone starts pointing fingers and accusing the Marlins of doing completely Marlins things here, it should be noted that injuries to other rotation contenders Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez made it necessary to dig deeper into their organization.

I just wanted to make sure that was documented.

Now you can start shouting, pointing fingers and accusing the Marlins of doing Marlins things, because regardless of how talented Fernandez is or how much of a bind they're in to field a rotation, this reeks of desperate attempt to sell tickets rather than sound use baseball judgement.

[Related: Expert predictions for MLB season]

Fernandez, the No. 14 overall pick in 2011, has never pitched above High-A ball, so they're asking him to leapfrog two levels in one spring to fill their need. But, again, the Marlins seem to view things differently than most other organizations. While many would elect to keep the arbitration clock from starting even if they felt a prospect was ready, the Marlins seem to value creating buzz a lot more.

With that in mind, I guess we shouldn't be surprised after all, right team president Larry Beinfest?

Our eyes are open, too, and we'll be watching closely to see how this works out for Miami. If it goes well, I'd be the first to admit as much. If it goes south — as in, Fernandez is completely overwhelmed, struggles, loses confidence, or maybe he's fine and they end up overusing him — well, nothing really changes anyway. We just add it to the list of misguided and potentially damaging decisions they've made over the years and wait for the next one.

Speaking of which, the Marlins also announced their opening day lineup on Sunday.

It's, um...

... not pretty.

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