With Rafael Furcal halfway through his rehab assignment, the question of discussion revolved around if and how Derek Dietrich would receive playing time once Furcal was activated from the disabled list. But after appearing in just ten games, Dietrich has been absent from recent starting lineups, which according to a report, is to help him "regain his confidence."
In those ten games, Dietrich batted .267 with a .421 on-base percentage. He also displayed power, notably to all fields, adding three home runs to complement a .308 average against right-handed pitching.
Dietrich has only faced four left-handed pitchers on the year, going hitless in the four at-bats. Speculation would be that Dietrich has been benched exclusively against lefties, but he was not in the lineup on Sunday or Monday when the Marlins faced righties.
While his offense has been consistent, Dietrich's defense could be a key reason for his absence. He has made three errors in the ten games in which he has appeared, and has often looked uncomfortable making plays at second base.
"It's still early and I'm working on some things to improve my defense," Dietrich said. "Last year I was very solid in the field, so a few minor mistakes early and people are going to know that's not how I usually play D. We're out here every day trying to get better. (I'm) doing everything I can offensively to help this club win, and glad I had the opportunity to be out there again today."
In 57 games last season, Dietrich just made two errors. Although Miami's defense has struggled at times, Dietrich's miscues have been most obvious. They have often extended rallies, and forced the Marlins' starters and bullpen to throw extra pitches unnecessarily.
Dietrich has stressed "getting back to the basics," but manager Mike Redmond may have not taken the right approach in handling the situation. Dietrich's defensive miscues have been most evident in recent contests, but the best way for Dietrich to regain his confidence may indeed be to put him back at second base immediately.
Donovan Solano has replaced Dietrich in the lineup, and while he has yet to make a defensive mistake, is batting .267 in eight games. It is a small sample size, but at the very least, it should be worth platooning the two.
It is unlikely that the Marlins decide Dietrich needs to be demoted to work on his defense. But if that were the case, reinstating Furcal wouldn't bring about any controversy.