One of the longest tenured positions for the Marlins will look differently in 2014. This offseason the Marlins made headlines by trading long-time (for Miami…) first baseman Logan Morrison. Morrison never quite reached the level that Marlins’ brass was hoping for, but he was still a fan favorite, due largely to his availability to the fans through social media.
With Morrison heading to Seattle, Miami has turned to former Pittsburgh Pirate Garrett Jones. Jones is a left-handed first baseman, who is also capable of playing a corner outfield position. For the fans that are hoping for Jones to provide them with the spark that Morrison was never able to do, be sure to temper your expectations. Jones is coming off of a season in which he posted career lows in almost every category, excluding his rookie year in which he only played 31 games.
To say that Jones struggles against left-handed pitching would be a gross understatement. last year he hit .095 against LHP and posted a slugging percentage of .143. He didn’t fare much better against right-handed pitching either, posting an OBP of .295. Pittsburgh used him almost exclusively in a platoon situation, sitting him when they faced a left-handed pitcher.
For Jones to be successful with the Marlins, manager Mike Redmond will need to employ his services much the same way. In a best case scenario, Jones will post numbers closer to his career averages against RHP, and utilize spacious Marlins Park to shoot doubles into gaps. Jones should hover around 15 home runs on the year.
When Jones is not in the lineup, I believe Miami will shift newcomer Casey McGehee from the hot corner over to first base. Ed Lucas is likely to step in at third base, assuming that he can hold of free agent Ty Wigginton from the role.
First base certainly has the possibility to struggle this season. The Marlins will have their fingers crossed that a change of scenery will allow Jones to blossom and post numbers that are above replacement value.
What are your thoughts on the first base position for the Marlins? Do you think Jones will be an upgrade over LoMo? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news coming from the Fish!