The Miami Marlins have the young core they need to contend for the postseason. All they need now is a group of veteran bench players that can keep the team afloat with their leadership and part-time production.
That group has been officially put together with outfielder Reed johnson making the team.
John joined the Marlins as a non-roster invitee after spending the last season and a half with the Atlanta Braves. He earned his way into the 40 man roster by hitting .410 (16-for-39) with four doubles, one home run and six RBIs in 14 Grapefruit League games.
Like with most veteran players, manager Mike Redmond has familiarity with Johnson from the days they played against each other. He had the same familiarity with veteran infielder Ty Wigginton, but he didn't make the cut and was released on Tuesday.
Johnson joins the veteran bench group that consists of utility infielder Jeff Baker (11 home runs in 151 at-bats for Texas last season) and veteran catcher Jeff Mathis (handled Marlins young rotation much of last year). Johnson and Baker know each other from their days with the Chicago Cubs in 2009 and 2011.
Like how a veteran bench is to supposed to be, these guys fit the profile: character, leadership through example and winning experience. Mathis was with the Angels during their last three trips to the postseason, Johnson made the postseason with the Braves last year and Baker reached the World Series with the Rockies in 2007.
The Marlins haven't had a veteran bench with postseason experience in a long time. One would have to go as far back as 2008 when the veteran leader was Luis Gonzalez in his last MLB season. The reserves will serve the Marlins well and Johnson will be a big part of that.
"We've talked about it all spring what he brings to our ballclub," Redmond told MLB.com. "He's a veteran bat off the bench and understands his role. You don't play that many years as a role player if you're not a great teammate and you bring a lot to the table. He definitely does that. He brings a lot of experience off the bench, but he can play as well. This guy can still hit. He's got a quick bat. He can definitely help us. He earned it. That's the bottom line."