Miami Marlins Should Sign Derek Dietrich in Free Agency

MIAMI, FL - JULY 24: Derek Dietrich #32 of the Miami Marlins rounds third to score in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on July 24, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 24: Derek Dietrich #32 of the Miami Marlins rounds third to score in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on July 24, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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With 90 days remaining until Opening Day, there remain a slew of free agents available for the Marlins, if they’re interested.

Currently on the Marlins 40-man roster in the infield, they have Jesus Aguilar, Brian Anderson, Jon Berti, Jazz Chisholm, Isan Diaz, Lewin Diaz, Miguel Rojas, and Jonathan Villar.

With Anderson and Berti likely outfield-bound, Chisholm and Lewin Diaz probably minors-bound, and Aguilar locked in over at first (likely with Garrett Cooper), that leaves Isan Diaz, Rojas, and Villar to man the other three positions.

Pliability when it comes to positions is a great thing to have, and the Marlins already know it. Rojas, Villar, Berti, and others can play a lot of different positions, but Miami could use more depth as far as that goes. That brings me to Derek Dietrich.

For a little while there, Dietrich was fighting for the National League home run lead earlier last season. Injury took its toll, however, with left shoulder inflammation, and held him to 113 games. He still clubbed a career-best 19 home runs, and also reached base 25 times via HBP, a particular specialty of Dietrich’s over the years. He remains Miami’s all-time leader in the category, with 93 over his six seasons in Marlins Park.

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MIAMI, FL – SEPTEMBER 03: Derek Dietrich #32 of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Dietrich has started over the course of his career at second base, third base, left field, and first base. Nominally a second baseman, Dietrich is roughly average at the three infield positions and below average in left field. An additional super-utility guy, along with the three that figure to make the team, would give Miami manager Don Mattingly unrivaled modularity to go along with the added offensive threat represented by Dietrich.

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Tagging onto that, not a lot has been written about Dietrich’s offensive prowess aside from his propensity to get onto first base in the most painful way possible. Despite that, he’s got an OPS+ of league average or better in each of his last five seasons. Over his last four seasons with Miami, he slashed .262/.344/.428 with 46 home runs and 164 RBI in 502 games.

The highest profile free agent remaining on the market is third baseman Josh Donaldson. Other infielders still available include Todd Frazier, Yolmer Sanchez, Jose Iglesias, Pablo Sandoval, Mitch Moreland, and Brock Holt.

With Miami still in the mix for both Steve Cishek (details here) and Yasiel Puig, could they surprise us with the return of Dietrich? Keep your eyes peeled, and check here for daily Marlins news.

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