If the Miami Marlins have to adopt the idea of playing with a designated hitter in 2020, here are a few players who may fill that role.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the designated hitter will become a major part of the Miami Marlins offense this coming season.
Allow me to collect my composure as I believe this move destroys the purity of National League baseball.
The changes to the 2020 season – meaning fewer games and the transition of realignment – dictates that hitters will take a lead role on how teams will fare this year. The Marlins, one of the worst hitting teams in the Majors the past two seasons, will welcome another bat that can add some instant offense on the base pads.
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“Having a hard stance on the designated hitter is one level below trying to stump someone with the infield fly rule. It’s embarrassing by virtue of it being a cliché,” writes Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports.
“It feels like cheap dialogue in a movie about baseball set 30 years ago, or the topic chosen by a middle schooler whose English teacher has assigned a paper to practice persuasive writing.”
I could not have said it better myself, but with the changing times and the need for baseball to once again resume, the speed to rush to start this season with new opponents means traditional American and National League teams will face each other more often. The goal is to protect the pitcher.
The Miami Marlins, if approved by the Players Association, will start the season with a 30-man roster and 20-man taxi squad. Since Minor League Baseball will be shelved in 2020, prospects may have a chance to see the Majors as part of the taxi squad or the teams may choose to wait until 2021 to see how MiLB shakes out.
The Marlins have some decisions to make about which players would be best suited to fill the designated hitter role. Here are a few choices.
Garrett Cooper will not be an everyday player unless he is installed as the team’s designated hitter.
Injuries have plagued his career the past two seasons and if the slugger could stay healthy, there is a chance he could approach 35-40 home runs in a regular season. Since this is not a “regular” season, taking advantage of his bat would be the best thing for the Miami Marlins.
If he stays healthy and swings for the fences as he did last season when he was in the lineup – 15 home runs in 381 at-bats – 20 dingers isn’t out of the question.
The other part of this equation is whether Jesus Aguilar holds onto the first base job. If Cooper unseats him, then it is Aguilar who will fill this role instead.
This might be the best way for the veteran to see more action than just becoming a fringe bench player. Matt Kemp was signed as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He spent time working in the outfield and at first base, another reason why he should make the parent club roster.
The Miami Marlins need Kemp to become a leader on the team, helping the younger players make the adjustment this season, in a year of changes.
Kemp could still make the roster as an outfielder and share time with Matt Joyce in right field. There are at least six outfielders fighting for one spot as a starter.
The 30-man roster should guarantee Kemp a roster spot, but he should be used more for his hitting this coming season.
Jesus Sanchez/Monte Harrison
The Miami Marlins could use the extra roster spots to bring in a rookie prospect who can hit for power and could also work their way into the starting outfield. Jesus Sanchez and Monte Harrison are on the fringe of making the Major League roster. Harrison was optioned to Triple-A Wichita right after the team closed down baseball operations due to COVID-19.
He should be the first prospect recalled to the Majors if there is an injury or inconsistent play. Harrison could also be the player who becomes the team’s everyday left fielder.
Sanchez could see the field toward the end of the season, but he has enough power to become a middle-of-the-lineup hitter. Another name to watch is first baseman Lewin Diaz who displayed plenty of power last season in the minors with the Minnesota Twins and Marlins.
Do not throw this possibility out the window as the free-agent slugger has not found a home yet and the Marlins could use his services strictly at this position.
Everything points to this happening, especially in a shortened season and Yasiel Puig’s penchant for swinging for the fences. It would be the equivalent of the front office added a David Ortiz-type of a player. A one-year deal with a team option is a realistic contract Derek Jeter could offer the former Los Angeles Dodgers player who has ties to Don Mattingly.
Puig can play in the outfield and can also fill in at first base, playing into that desire for Miami Marlins players to offer versatility. This is one of those low risk, high reward moves the team has been looking to make.