Marlins Rumors: Second base shakeup, Bonifacio back in Miami?


Let’s direct our attention for just a moment away from all the Giancarlo Stanton hullabaloo, where we see the Marlins hot stove season has already swung into full force. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Marlins are quietly mulling over their options to play second base heading into next season. Jackson wrote in his column on Sunday:

"### The Marlins privately considered Kike Hernandez, acquired from Houston the Jarred Cosart trade, to be the front-runner for the second base job, but an abdominal injury sustained in Winter League play has left his status for spring training in question, according to the team.Donovan Solano will have a chance and the Marlins have inquired about a few outside options, including Emilio Bonifacio.Derek Dietrich, another option at second, played first base in the instructional league and is now a viable option to play first in 2015, Marlins’ vice president Marty Scott said. The Marlins ideally want to upgrade over Garrett Jones (due $5 million) at first but didn’t want to approach the Mets’ two-year, $21 million for Michael Cuddyer, who liked the Marlins."

There’s actually quite a bit to digest here, and this news sort of fell to the backburner amid the Stanton news over the past couple days.

First, it’s pretty remarkable that the Marlins were banking on Enrique Hernandez to man second base in 2015. Obviously things happen — injuries, other guys step up and steal the job, etc. — but it’s a bit baffling that they were ready to hand the gig to Hernandez. The team has said they wanted to upgrade second base, and Hernandez doesn’t necessarily qualify as a step up from Donovan Solano or dearly departed Ed Lucas. Hernandez enjoyed a brief cup of coffee with the Marlins after arriving in the Cosart trade, and he didn’t exactly light it up. He put up what I like to call “Gorkys Hernandez numbers” in the short 45 plate appearance stint, in which he slashed .175/.267/.425.

Sure, that’s a ridiculously small sample size, but that’s not exactly the performance that warrants a verbal commitment this far before the team breaks Spring Training.

He saw more success in the American League when he came up with the Astros — .284/.348/.420 in 89 PA — but that’s hardly enough to pin him as a front runner for a full-time job, in my opinion.

That point might be moot anyway, as the injury Hernandez suffered in the Winter League was severe enough to warrant doubt over his status for when Spring Training opens more than three months from now.

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Of course, Jackson wrote that Solano could once again be handed the job next year. I think it’s far too early to speculate, but really there’s absolutely no way the Marlins can let that happen. We all stood by relatively quietly while Solano went out there every day and did next-to-nothing in 2013 when the team obviously wasn’t going anywhere. Then, last year they at least tried putting other warm bodies at second in hopes that someone would break through, and Solano still amassed 340 PA and a replacement-level performance. The team still won 77 games, so I guess you can’t really complain about that either.

But Solano can’t be the Marlins’ second baseman next year. If they truly must stay within the system, I think most fans would agree that Derek Dietrich should get the chance over Solano, assuming they don’t decide to move him to first base. Dietrich’s power potential provides a clear advantage over Solano, who is nothing more than a utility guy and spot starter.

Fans loved Emilio Bonifacio during his time with the Marlins, and I would be all for a reunion with the spark plug who can play all over the place. He was worth 1.4 WAR with the Cubs last year but scuffled in his short time with the Braves, but could provide the Marlins with the true leadoff hitter they need. Nothing against Christian Yelich, of course, but I would prefer him hitting second or even third moving forward. But I do miss Boni’s ridiculous speed at the top of the Marlins lineup and he is now a free agent.

We don’t know who the other “outside options” are, so there should be plenty of speculation surrounding the Marlins as the hot stove continues to, well, heat up.

Who do you want to see play second base for the Marlins in 2015? Let us know in the comments below!

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