Every week, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro releases an inbox article that takes questions from fans and answers them according to what he thinks the team will do. Frisaro is a well-respected beat writer, but he has ins with the Marlins that provide him more access but leave him more affiliated with the franchise and less impartial. In addition, it would be interesting to see these questions answered from a more analytic bent.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I will take over answering those questions for Frisaro! And by "take over,' I mean I will also answer them on Fish Stripes, which is unaffiliated with the Miami Marlins. You know, it's all the same. Let's get to this week's questions!
Would the Marlins consider making an offensive upgrade at catcher with the acquisition of either Wilin Rosario of the Rockies or J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays? Arencibia would be a natural fit since he is a hometown kid.
-- Camilo T., Miami
The Marlins would certainly like to address the catcher position, as right now the Fish are slated to start Jeff Mathis (ugh) and do not have a good candidate for catcher of the future. But Wilin Rosario is a no-go given his cost-controlled status; like Frisaro mentions, there is essentially zero reason for the Rockies to deal him.
J.P. Arencibia seems like a more likely choice, since the Blue Jays might be interested in moving on from him. But they have good reason for that; Arencibia has been terrible in each of the last two seasons. Since his rookie season in 2011, Arencibia has hit .211/.248/.395 (.278 wOBA) and has been worth half a win above replacement according to FanGraphs. He also has a strong reputation as a bad defender behind the plate. There is a reason the Jays are trying to acquire either Chris Iannetta or Hank Conger from the Los Angeles Angels.
Frisaro mentions that the Marlins pursuing either Iannetta or Conger from Los Angeles would be an interesting choice. Conger seems the more likely candidate to stick with the Angels, as he is just 25 years old right now. But Iannetta comes on a reasonable contract and would demand very little in return for a trade. The only question is budget.
With all the young, controllable pitching the Marlins have, should they make a trade with the Angels for Mark Trumbo? The Marlins have stated they need more pop and protection for Giancarlo Stanton.
-- Devin S., Lake Worth, Fla.
We discussed a potential Mark Trumbo acquisition yesterday. Trumbo's power is at least intriguing, but he has never been one to get on base often (career .299 OBP) and that makes for a hitter with limited skills. This is not a situation like with Giancarlo Stanton, who has more patience (career 11.2 percent walk rate) than Trumbo (career 6.3 percent). Rather, Trumbo is just a two-horse pony, with home runs and power alongside heavy amounts of strikeouts.
The more important question for the Fish would be where Trumbo would play. He is a disaster in the outfield, and the Fish are clogged in that area anyway. He is best suited for first base, but the Marlins have Logan Morrison there. Trumbo is likely a better player than Morrison at this point, but they would have to shed Morrison to accommodate him. And unlike the case with Jose Dariel Abreu, Trumbo is not likely a star in development; at 28 years of age next season, he is more or less who he is.
The Marlins need power and they have that in the Minors in Kyle Jensen, who wasn't even a September callup. Jensen had more home runs than Stanton last season, when you count his numbers at Double-A and Triple-A. Why not bring him up?
-- Mark R., Miami
First, let's not exaggerate what Kyle Jensen is. He was 25 years old during the 2013 season, and he was repeating Double-A after a very respectable .234/.338/.452 (.363 wOBA) line last season. He demolished the league to the tune of a .237/.354/.498 (.390 wOBA) year this season before moving on to Triple-A, where was not nearly as good. In his 226 Triple-A plate appearances, he hit .233/.293/.485 (.336 wOBA). He went from 50 percent better than the Double-A average to two percent worse than the hitting-charged Triple-A league.
This performance more or less tells you all you need to know about Kyle Jensen. He is a slugger who hit 28 homers between two levels last year, but he also struck out in 27.9 percent of plate appearances last season. He does not walk a lot unless the league sees him as a threat, and in Triple-A that simply was not the case. Bringing him up to the majors for his power essentially ignores his "poor man's Mark Trumbo" impression.
And where would the team play him? It has four potential starting outfielders for next season, so Jensen's corner outfield position is filled. First base houses Morrison right now, and while Jensen is a cheaper option, he is not likely to be a better one.
Is there any talk about moving the fences in at Marlins Park like several other clubs have already done?
-- John, Watertown, N.Y.
The Marlins will discuss moving the fences in, yes. But what would that accomplish? If the team cannot win games, moving the fences in will bring no one to the park. The fences themselves are unlikely to benefit Miami more than the other team. And while Marlins Park suppresses home runs, it has been an overall league average offensive park in its first two seasons of infancy.
We here at Fish Stripes maintain that moving the fences in does nothing to help the franchise, both from a business or baseball standpoint. If the Fish want more power, they need to start acquiring better hitters.
All options for Miami at this stage appear to be internal. The free agent market this year is barren outside of Robinson Cano. The trade market is not great, but more importantly, the Marlins have pressing trade needs at more than a few positions, including one at catcher in which they have no future options. Second and third base are question marks now, but at least third has a future (Colin Moran) and second has a young player in Derek Dietrich whom the Fish could try.
Barring any lingering difficulty with owner Jeffrey Loria, Dietrich should get every opportunity at second base. A contingency of Donovan Solano, Chris Coghlan, Greg Dobbs, and perhaps a veteran free agent on a cheap one-year deal like Casey McGehee or Mark Reynolds could make up the third base situation. Neither of these options are ideal for 2014 performance, but the Marlins are not looking to compete next year after their failed 2013 season.