Miami Marlins: Time to Pull the Plug on Garrett Jones
By Ehsan Kassim
The Miami Marlins signed first baseman Garrett Jones to a two-year contract in the off-season because they loved his “consistency” at the plate throughout his career. Though the Marlins praised the signing because of his bat, he’s only posted a wRC+ (weighted runs created) of over 100 only three times in his career.
Garrett Jones has provided the Marlins with same consistency Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez had provided the Marlins two years prior. Consistently
bad terrible play.
Manager Mike Redmond believed that Jones could turn around his terrible career against lefties earlier this season, giving him plenty of early at bats against lefties. Red finally realized how big of a mistake that was and pulled the plug on that experiment in May.
Throughout his career, Jones has been a horrific fielding first baseman. Along with that, Jones’ has not been able to hit anything the last two seasons at the plate. With that, you get a recipe for disaster. Here is a look at his numbers the past two seasons:
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The .157 ISO (Isolated Power) and the .399 slugging percentage are the lowest of Jones’ career, save his rookie season when he amassed only 84 plate appearances.
Due to his glove, Marlin Maniac reader Andy Harris nicknamed Jones “Clank.” This nickname has really struck a cord with the Marlin Maniac staff, as we usually use that name over and over again in our group chat when Jones makes a fielding error.
Unfortunately, the Marlins didn’t sign Jones to just a one year deal. He’ll be under contract next season for $6 million. His negative WAR the past two seasons makes it hard to phantom that he’ll show any improvement next season.
Oliver’s 5-year projections projects Jones to post a .231/.292/.396 slash line next season with a .301 wOBA (weighted on base average), resulting in a -0.7 WAR. That is not an acceptable line for a first baseman for a team that hopes to contend as soon as next season.
If not Jones, then who do the Marlins turn to?
We all know that the Marlins don’t have a ton of depth at the first base position, hence the reason they gave Jones a two-year contract in the off-season.
However, the Marlins do have an interesting bat that has had a huge season at the Triple-A level this season: Justin Bour, who was among the Marlins first wave of September call-ups.
Bour was also an off-season signing for the Marlins, coming over from the Chicago Cubs as a minor league signing. Like Jones, Bour is not famous for his defense, but he could potentially give the Marlins a fresh bat that could deliver them the offense that is sorely needed at the position.
On the season, Bour owns a .306/.372/.579 slash line with a .379 wOBA. He has 18 home runs on the season and has walked at a decent 9% clip.
The numbers are right in line with what he did in the Cubs organization the past two years, before coming over to Miami. He posted a .368 wOBA two seasons ago with a .283/.360/.455 slash line and 18 home runs in 2012, with the Cubs Double-A affiliate. Last season he posted a .343 wOBA in his age 25-season at Double-A, which probably factored into the Cubs decision to let him go.
His numbers in 2014 at least warrant a shot for the 26-year old to get a trial run at first base to see if he can stick. While the Marlins are in the thick of a playoff run, let’s remember that their primary first baseman, Garrett Jones and Jeff Baker, have combined for a -0.2 WAR on the season. They clearly have not been getting the job done and the Marlins may not have a better option.
In my estimation, we have seen enough of Garrett “Clank” Jones this season. His struggles both at bat and on the field are not justifiable to warrant major playing time. The Marlins refused to play second baseman Derek Dietrich due to his defense, even though his bat was better than Jones’. It’s time to show Jones the bench and keep him there.
The Marlins would be wise at this point to eat next years’ contract and cut their ties with Jones. He’s clearly in the decline phase of his career and doesn’t look like he can improve much.
It should be Bour time in Miami.