We'll get to Dolphins stuff in a bit, but a quick Tuesday update:
### An official with an American League team tells us Hanley Ramirez is very much available - if the Marlins can get the right pieces in return - and that the asking price "is not ridiculous." The Marlins wants young players in return, but want quality pieces - not a salary dump, per se.
We've heard Oakland and Boston have interest, and USA Today mentioned Toronto as another possibility.
Fox's Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday afternoon that teams also have been inquiring about Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Lee and Randy Choate. Lee and Choate are impending free agents, and it wouldn't be surprising if either is moved. The Marlins would love to dump Heath Bell, but good luck with that.
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The Dolphins have been holding monthly conference calls with season-ticket holders, allowing fans to ask questions of Joe Philbin, Steve Ross or in Monday night’s case, receiver Brian Hartline.
Some snippets from Hartline’s remarks to fans:
### On whether he will be 100 percent after an offseason appendectomy: “I’m feeling pretty good. 100 percent is a lost thing, at this stage.” Hartline said previously he doesn’t expect to miss any games.
### On whether Ryan Tannehill should play his rookie season, considering Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III likely will start for Indy and Washington: “If you look at the [Colts and Redskins], they’re not as fortunate as we are to have [veteran quarterback] talent. No one wants to win more than the coaching staff and players. You are going to play the best guy. If he separates himself and is the best guy, he’s going to play. We’re fortunate we’ve got a couple veterans that can handle it and take the starting spot.”
### He echoed other players in noting: “Coach Philbin communicates on an excellent level. I’m excited about the offensive coordinator…. We aren’t that far away. We have a lot of great pieces.”
### On where Miami stands at receiver: “I love being evaluated…. I’m not worried what the world thinks of the Miami Dolphins receivers. I know what I think of them. I’m impressed. It’s definitely the best overall group we’ve had” even without Brandon Marshall. Hartline said he knows some fans like “flashy names” but “there is more involved than just personnel.”
### He said “a guy people are sleeping on, who’s going to be around here, is Julius Pruitt. Breakout, Victor Cruz kind of thing? That’s not what I see. [But] he’s doing a great job at it. He’s going to have a huge impact on the special teams.” Among other receivers, “Roberto Wallace is doing a great job as well.”
### Asked by a fan how he will be used, he cracked: “I have Philbin’s number, if you want to give him a call… I’m ready [for] a bigger load.”
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Here's a quick look at how the roster breaks down at every position excluding quarterback, with camp set to open at 8 a.m. Friday: (R denotes rookie)
Automatics: Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Lamar Miller
Competing for two spots: Steve Slaton, Marcus Thigpen, Jonas Gray ® and fullbacks Jerome Messam ®, Jorvorskie Lane ® and Ryan Mahafee
Comment: Bush closed last season with four consecutive 100-yard games before missing the finale and hopes to duplicate last year’s 5.0 per carry average. But Bush -- well suited to the West Coast offense -- expects the Dolphins to throw more and he will be lined up at receiver at times. Bush said the speedy Miller is ready to contribute immediately. And Thomas, who has much to prove after an injury-plagued rookie season, said the Dolphins’ new zone blocking scheme suits his skills. Thigpen needs to impress on special teams to have any shot of sticking. Miami would like to keep a fullback and hopes one of the three seizes the job.
Automatics: Brian Hartline, Davone Bess.
Good chance to stick: Chad Ochocinco and Legedu Naanee
Competing for two or three spots: Roberto Wallace, Clyde Gates, Marlon Moore, Julius Pruitt, Chris Hogan, B.J. Cunningham ®, Rishard Matthews (R), Jeff Fuller (R)
Comment: The Dolphins say Ochocinco must earn a roster spot (and learn the playbook), but he looked good in minicamp and still might be the most physically gifted receiver on the roster. Naanee had a solid offseason and has a good shot to be in the top-four rotation. If Wallace and Pruitt impress as much as they did in May and June, the question is whether the Dolphins will give up this soon on the speedy Gates. That would be surprising because: 1) it's only his second year; 2) he has value on kickoff returns: 3) Jeff Ireland has said this offseason he believes Gates has a bright future and was disappointed coaches didn't use him more last year.
Automatics: Anthony Fasano, Charles Clay, Michael Egnew
Competing for any remain roster spots: Jeron Mastrud, Will Yeatman, Les Brown
Comment: Joe Philbin’s Packers kept five tight ends last year, but Mastrud and Yeatman must show more in camp to justify roster spots. The tight ends will be a key part of the passing game, and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has crafted packages to use Fasano, Clay and Egnew together on occasion.
Automatics: Tackles Jake Long and Jonathan Martin ®, guard Richie Incognito, center Mike Pouncey
Very likely to stick: guard/tackle Artis Hicks and tackle Lydon Murtha
Competing for two or three spots: guards John Jerry, Ray Feinga and Derek Dennis ®; guard/center Ryan Cook and Josh Samuda ®; tackles Will Barker, Dustin Waldron ® and Andrew McDonald and guard/tackle Nate Garner.
Comment: The Dolphins hope Martin, their second-round pick, can win the right tackle job. Hicks and Jerry figure to compete at right guard, but Jerry could be in jeopardy if he bombs in camp. Samuda got some work at center this offseason and would a cheaper alternative to Cook, who’s due $1 million if makes the team. Garner’s $1.4 million salary could put him at risk.
Automatics: Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick, Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Olivier Vernon
Very likely to stick: Tony McDaniel, Jamaal Westerman
Competing for one or two spots: defensive ends Ryan Baker, Jarrell Root ®, Derrick Shelby ® and Jacquies Smith ®; tackles Kheeston Randall ®, Isaako Aaitui ® and Chas Alecxih ®
Comment: The Dolphins played a 4-3 well over the half the time last year, so they anticipate a smooth transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 base. The starters appear set (Wake, Odrick, Starks and Soliai), but the Dolphins hope to get a consistent pass rush from Vernon and Westerman (3.5 sacks for the Jets last year), and productive snaps from McDaniel, who’s earning the highest base salary of any backup on the team, at $3 million.
Automatics: Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, Koa Misi
Very likely to stick: Jason Trusnik, Gary Guyton
Competing for one or two jobs: Austin Spitler, Jonathan Freeney, Josh Kaddu ®, Cameron Collins ®, Shelly Lyons ®.
Comment: Dansby has transitioned smoothly to a 4-3 middle linebacker – a position he said he never played before. Misi has a good grasp of the third starting linebacker job and hasn’t yet been pressed by Guyton as much as some expected. The Dolphins consider Trusnik their best special teams player.
Automatics: Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Richard Marshall
Competing for potentially two or three spots: Nolan Carroll, Jonathan Wade, Vincent Agnew, Marcus Brown, Anderson Russell, Quinten Lawrence ®, Kevyn Scott ® and Trenton Hughes ®.
Comment: Marshall will be on the field more than half the time. Carroll needs a good camp to hold off Wade and others for the No. 4 cornerback job. Among the backup corners, Wade and Lawrence made the most impressive plays in offseason practices open to the media.
Automatics: Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons, Jimmy Wilson
Competing for one or two spots: Tyrone Culver, Tyrell Johnson, Kelcie McCray ®
Comment: Jones and Clemons are the heavy favorites to start, and Culver has a good chance to stick after playing well when called upon last season. Johnson, a former second-round bust with Minnesota, must show more playmaking ability after a disappointing offseason program here. McCray impressed the front office during the Dolphins rookie minicamp.
Kicker: Dan Carpenter. Unopposed after hitting all 26 extra points and 29 of 34 field goals last season.
Punter: Brandon Fields. Returns unopposed after finishing fourth in the league with a 48.8 net average.
Long snapper: John Denney is back for his eighth year in the role.
### Note: See our last post for Monday news on the Heat, UM recruiting and Randy Shannon's expected next job.