If he makes the 25-man roster in Spring Training, will veteran Curtis Ganderson not only win a starting outfield job, but will he bat leadoff for the Marlins?
The Miami Marlins made a move to bring Curtis Granderson in on a minor league deal with the hope the veteran outfielder can win a job in the outfield during Spring Training. If the veteran does make the team, where is leadership and experience would prove valuable to this young roster, does he start on Opening Day and will he hit leadoff for the franchise?
Both are good bets, depending on who you talk to.
Granderson could be one of those under the radar moves at the end of free agency that pays off handsomely for Miami and gives manager Don Mattingly someone dependable to set the table for this almost powerless lineup.
"“I think Curtis is a guy who has done that in the past,” Mattingly said on Sunday via MLB.com. “He’s an on-base guy. He gives you good at-bats. I think when he’s in the lineup, he could profile there, for sure.”"
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The Marlins used multiple players in the leadoff position last year because centerfielder Lewis Brinson missed extended time with a hip injury. There is no doubt the Marlins liked his speed and ability to get on base, but a below average batting average coupled with his lack of productivity at the plate makes his guarantee of a starting spot unknown.
Mattingly said all three outfield spots were open heading into camp. He named Peter O’Brien the team’s starting right fielder.
Now, there are two open positions and plenty of competition to be had in spacious Marlins Park.
"As Joe Frisaro explains it, “Granderson posted a .343 on-base percentage with 43 walks over 339 plate appearances while hitting in the No. 1 spot in 2018. He played most of the season for the Blue Jays before being dealt to the Brewers to join their postseason push in the final month.”"
Hopefully, the playoff experience is something he can share with Brinson and others. There is plenty of talent in camp, with 68 players working to earn the 25 spots.
But the outfield seems to be as crowded as the starting pitchers who are fighting over two rotation spots and a chaotic bullpen that is still unsolved.
Granderson could solve one of the team’s problems by winning the job outright in Jupiter, which means it’s one less issue Mattingly and front office must resolve before the end of March.