May 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Emilio Bonifacio (1) triples in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park. Bonifacio will miss 15 days with a sprained left thumb. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
Today, the Miami Marlins had to enjoy their solid 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians, as the team performed well in almost all aspects of the game. Unfortunately, they were unable to enjoy it with their entire team. The most important loss to the team was Emilio Bonifacio, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list last night with a sprained left thumb. Bonifacio suffered the injury in the first game of the series and missed the second game before being placed on the DL. This was his first trip to the disabled list in his major league career.
Bonifacio has been seen as a "catalyst" to the Marlins' offense, in part because he started the season with an incredible 21 straight stolen bases before being caught on Friday night. Indeed, up until that point, he had been one of the most valuable players on the team; Bonifacio's .268/.351/.315 slash line along with his superior base stealing thus far in the season gave him a .329 wOBA to start the year. However, the defensive numbres have been mixed, with Bonifacio being a negative defensively in two different metrics early in the season.
Regardless, Bonifacio's spot in the roster is a tough one to fill, but the Marlins do have at least one choice worth considering.Bryan Petersen has not spent a long time in the majors this season, but his body of work over the last few years in limited playing time deserves a second look. Petersen only has 279 PA, but he does have a .247/.333/.347 career line (.307 wOBA). If the Marlins gave him some more playing time, ZiPS thinks he will hit .259/.335/.383 (.315 wOBA) going forward, and given his batting line of .265/.357/.387 from last season, that seems perfectly believable. Add to that his good defense in the outfield and you have to figure the Marlins will at least consider him as the primary replacement for Bonifacio while the speedster is out with injury.
Here is another interesting tidbit from that news article.
With Logan Morrison expected to receive playing time at first base now that Gaby Sanchez has been optioned to Triple-A, Coghlan could see time against right-handed pitchers in left field. Austin Kearns also is expected to play in left field, especially against lefties.
So it seems the Marlins are interested in playing Logan Morrison at first base more often. Without an injury to Bonifacio, this would be a good move, since it moves Morrison away from his defensive struggles and puts him in a safe place defensively. But with Bonifacio out, a Morrison-at-first-base lineup would also include playing Chris Coghlan, who was brought up when Gaby Sanchez was demoted to Triple-A. Coghlan and Petersen are both left-handed hitters, so the Marlins could opt for a platoon involving Coghlan in left field against right-handers and Austin Kearns to face lefties. The team can also go with Greg Dobbs, whom Ozzie Guillen seems to trust a good deal, at either first base or the outfield with Morrison occupying the other position.
Replacing Bonifacio in the 25-man roster is infielder Donovan Solano, who impressed the Marlins this season in Spring Training and almost made the team as a backup infielder. Solano was hitting just .262/.327/.326 (.307 wOBA) in Triple-A this season, but he may get a look in the infield while Omar Infante is out of the lineup attending to the death of a family member. Infante will be out at least three games, and Solano and Donnie Murphy are expected to be his replacements at second base. Murphy has two home runs but is hitting just .115/.226/.385, as he only has one more hit other than those two homers.