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Willingham's Position still Undecided

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Willingham will be with the big club this year since he is the only one of the Marlins out of options.  Given his ability with the stick - he will be in the lineup but at catcher is not guaranteed.

Josh, from all accounts, has made great strides behind the plate.  He was a top student in Girardi's catching 101 and only has impressed everyone with his progress.  Not the mention that he is hitting .435 this spring.

So why wouldn't he be catching?

It seems Matt Treanor may have batted him out into left-field.  While Willingham's average is very impressive, Matt is doing better batting .478.

So here is the dilemma:  Joe only wants to carry two catchers on the team.

Olivo is probably the best receiver on the team and has caught in the most major league games of the three.  Pitchers love throwing to him.  Unfortunately he is hitting only .176 this spring.

Treanor is the second most experienced catcher on the squad.  Last year's backup in his first year up in the bigs and did a decent job of catching when he filled-in.  He has the best average of the three during spring training.  

Willingham is learning a lot but is still new to the position.  He has a big bat.

So what's the decision?

If you start Willingham and keep Olivo then Treanor is sent down.  Your sending down someone who did their job well with the Marlins last season and is hitting .478.  That to me is a hard thing to justify.

The only way to keep all three in the majors is start Willingham in left.

Beinfest had this to say about the situation:

On whether Willingham (hitting .435) will stay at catcher or move to left field: ``I don't think that decision has been made. Is he worthy of that opportunity [to be a starting catcher]? I would say yes. Whether he starts there or not . . . that's something that's still being worked on. We want Josh's bat in the lineup. All three catchers [Willingham, Miguel Olivo and Matt Treanor] have done a good job.''

If I were making the decision Josh would be playing left-field and the other two catchers would stay on the team.