Do the Miami Marlins move Brian Anderson back to third base for the 2020 season or will he once again roam the outfield?
The Marlins cannot wait for Brian Anderson to get back on the baseball diamond after a season that ended abruptly because of a broken hand. The third baseman/outfielder had hit 20 home runs and had 66 RBI prior to the injury that forced him to miss the last month of the season.
Anderson is a cornerstone player for this organization, but where he plays defensively next year is still up in the air. The organization must make decisions about what to do with other players on the 26-man roster ahead of deciding the 26-year-old’s position.
"“I think, ideally, the Marlins would like for Anderson to be their everyday third baseman,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “Anderson appeared in 64 games at third base and 55 in right field. In 2018, it was 91 games in right field and 67 at third base.”"
A Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans, Anderson played at third base before his Sept. 1 call up to the Majors in 2017.
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For most of his career, which spans a little over two seasons, Anderson has played at the hot corner or in right field out of necessity. He has proven to be a solid defense of asset for manager Don Mattingly wherever he has set up shop.
With the shift around the diamond after the All-Star break last year, with Starlin Castro moving to third and Isan Diaz being brought up from Triple-A, Anderson played the majority of the second half of the season in the outfield.
"“The way the sport has evolved, position flexibility is a huge bonus. As long as Anderson is in the lineup, he’s shown he can play either third base or right field at a high level,” Frisaro added."
As of right now, it seems unlikely Castro will return to the team because of his 2020 salary. Moving Anderson back to third base open the door for Monte Harrison or Jesus Sanchez to make the 26-man roster from the minors. There are plenty of names competing for roster spots next spring. The front office and coaching staff face the task of finding the right combination with only a few spots open.
Both Harrison and Sanchez could provide more pop at the top of the batting order, which is something Miami desperately needs next season. The Marlins first last or near the bottom of every offensive statistical category in Major League Baseball last year. And their lack of a home run threat continues to be evident.
It’s also a near guarantee the front office will add an outfielder or first baseman, or both in free agency.
While Miami continues to shuffle its roster, which means Castro and other veterans exit south Florida, Anderson also has an opportunity to become a vocal leader on the field and in the clubhouse. Next season could be Anderson’s best at the plate, where he could approach 30 home runs if he’s healthy.