Entering into the 2013 season, the Marlins every day first baseman was recovering from offseason knee surgery. Logan Morrison was not ready for opening day, therefore the Marlins rolled with veteran Casey Kotchman. Unfortunately for Kotchman, he went through two different injuries that only allowed him to play 6 games this season. That opened the door for veteran pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs to take over the reins at first base in Morrison’s absence. Today we will give both Morrison and Dobbs grades for the year.
During an offseason of turmoil for Miami, Morrison stayed on his best Twitter behavior, showing solidarity with the team. Of course one wrong move and Morrison might have been sent packing. In his 4 year career, all with Miami, Morrison has struggled to avoid the disabled list. This season was no exception as Morrison played in just over half of the Marlins games this year. Upon his return, Morrison performed at close to career averages in AVG and OBP. Unfortunately his slugging percentage dipped for the fourth consecutive year. His sapped power might have been a result of his knee surgery, but either way, a .242/.333/.375 slash line is not acceptable for someone of Morrison’s talent. He finished the season with a WAR of -o.5.
No one is probably happier to see prized offseason acquisition, Jose Abreu, sign with the White Sox. Morrison probably would have been without a job had Miami been able to successfully court him. Miami is hopeful that Morrison can come into spring training next year as a much improved hitter, regaining his power stroke. If he has another injury plagued season, I could see the Marlins cutting ties with him after next year. Unfortunately for Morrison, it has reached the point where expectations are slightly more than half a season for him. Therefore I can’t really penalize him for that. His loss of power will be reflected in his grade.
Dobbs is viewed around the league as an above average pinch hitter, not an everyday player. Yet again the Marlins played another person out of position for a large part of the season. This one was due mainly to injuries. Dobbs hit .228/.303/.300 on the year. These numbers are not acceptable for someone who played in three-quarters of Miami’s games this season. He managed only 2 home runs and struck out 40 times in 267 plate appearances.
His glove was better than expected and he made the adjustment from third base to first base relatively easily. Dobbs has resigned with the Marlins for the upcoming season on a 1 year contract that is worth 1.7 million dollars. To me, this is a bit surprising with his production drop off and years of service. His age is becoming to be a factor at 35 years old. If we grade him based on reasonable preseason expectations, He falls short, but not as much as you might think.
The Marlins ranked 27th out of 30 teams in the WAR category for first base for all 30 major league teams. As a team they posted a -1.6 WAR. The unfortunate reality for Miami is that almost every position across the board ranked them with a negative WAR score. Here at first base, 27th is not acceptable.
What do you think about the grades? What grade would you have given Miami’s first base position? Let us know in the comments below.
Here’s to 2014!