The Miami Marlins are already working with a severely thinned-out roster thanks to the trades of the offseason. Going into the 2013 year, the team is already planning on starting a skeleton crew of young, relatively unproven players around star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. With the depth situation at the major league level as bad as it already is, the team can barely afford to have an injury significantly dent its starting lineup further.
But it seems the Fish may be dealing with an injury, and to a relatively important, veteran cog as well. Logan Morrison is still recovering from knee surgery that initially held him out from the end of July through the end of the season. The patellar injury that he suffered the previous year had bothered him for much of the 2012 year, and its repair may now possibly keep him out until after the start of the 2013 year.
"I’m not going to be able to run until the middle of February," he said. "It’ll take a week into spring training, then it will be a progression to lead up to bases at some point. I don’t know when that will be."
Morrison in early September underwent a procedure to repair the patella tendon. It was a bit different than the debridement surgery he had on the same knee in December 2011. This was a full repair, requiring a longer incision and drilling a hole into the knee cap to attach the tendon.
The likelihood is that Morrison will miss a decent amount of spring training and be ready around the start of the 2013 year, but as was discussed previously by former manager Ozzie Guillen, the Marlins had this issue last season. Both Morrison and Stanton suffered injuries late enough into the offseason as to hold them out during parts of spring training. What followed was a difficult start of the 2012 season which some attributed to the lack of warm-up time before the season began.
For Morrison however, the problem likely delves deeper than that. He had a knee injury for which surgery was necessary before last season. The Marlins were aware of this problem and their ongoing issue with having two viable first basemen at the time, Morrison and Gaby Sanchez. Rather than manage the issue by dealing one of them to a position of need such as starting pitching or outfield, the Fish decided to force Morrison into an uncomfortable position while on balkier-than-usual knees. One can only assume, after watching Morrison struggle all throughout 2012 and have difficulty manning the position defensively, that playing left field for almost four months hurt the team's chances and Morrison's health.
The Marlins likely could have gotten a good trade from either Morrison or Sanchez before the 2012 season began, but they made the mistake of not dealing with the conundrum. They further mismanaged the situation by adding Carlos Lee to the fray. Now Morrison's knee appears to be damaged enough to have required surgery that may keep him out of the early portion of 2013, furthering the problems that the team's decision on the Morrison / Sanchez conundrum have caused. It is not possible to determine whether the Marlins' failure to move Morrison to his natural position hurt his knee more, but it seems difficult to believe that his knee would have suffered more damage managing a small piece of field at first base versus the expansive left field of Marlins Park. The team should have done more to assure Morrison's health, and now this decision is beginning to look worse and worse for the team.