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What to do with Emilio Bonifacio

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The speculation has started about where in the world does Emilio Bonifacio fit with the Marlins.

Dan Uggla is the second baseman for the Marlins -- for now, at least.

Jorge Cantu is on the team. So are Hanley Ramirez, Alfredo Amezaga, Wes Helms, Dallas McPherson, Gaby Sanchez, Robert Andino and -- as of Tuesday's trade with the Washington Nationals -- Emilio Bonifacio.

All are infielders.

But nine is more than enough, and it's anyone's guess which of them won't be around for the season opener April 6.

I can guess this much, assuming the Marlins don't quickly flip him, and I doubt there will be many takers, the front office will force him onto the 25-man roster, or soon after the season starts, the way that always do after a trade.

If you need an example: remember Rabelo who had nothing in his past that suggested he should be an everyday catcher.  But he came to the Marlins in a trade and was therefore forced into the lineup.  As time went by, it was learned he wasn't much of catcher and couldn't hit.  Of course, both of characteristics were displayed in spring training, but that didn't matter.

Back to Bonifacio.

 

In Bonifacio, Florida got a lightly seasoned, switch-hitting second baseman who steals bases and is gifted with the glove. Speed and defense are two areas that Beinfest is trying to improve upon.

Bonifacio has not yet proved himself adept with the bat. But Beinfest said he is ''major-league ready,'' projects him as a future everyday player, if not now, and thinks he can bat leadoff.

Let's check that stealing bases thing.  In 60 games in the majors he has stolen 7 bases and has been caught 5 times, so if we project that over a 162 game season that is 18.9 SB and 13.5 CS.  Not exactly a head turner, of course he could improve over time.

And let's say he did, for the sake of argument, speed doesn't mean a thing if you can't get on base.  Bonifacio's OBP is a whopping .300 and in case you didn't know it that is crap for a slap hitter with no power.  Heck, Mike Jacobs had an OBP that good but at least he hit 30+ HR.

However, come spring training Bonifacio is going to get every chance to shine.

 

Beinfest said Bonifacio would be tried at second, short and third in spring training. But second base has been his primary position, which has led to conjecture that Uggla could be traded. Uggla, one of a dozen arbitration-eligible players who remain in the control of the Marlins, is expected to get about $5 million next season.

''I think it's easy to speculate,'' Beinfest said. ``As far as Danny goes, he certainly doesn't have any worries personally. He's a two-time All-Star.''

Which means Uggla won't go hungry next season even if he doesn't return to the Marlins, something Beinfest would not guarantee.

I know this much, Bonifacio isn't going to see too much time, if any, at short during next season.

I have no idea what the Marlins are going to do with Bonifacio, assuming he doesn't fall on his face during spring training.  But given the Marlins propensity to force players they received via the trade in the previous offseason, it will give them an excuse to trade Amezaga or Andino or Uggla or a combination of the three.  Will one or more be traded?  We will see.  But come opening day either Bonifacio will be in the minors, and if not, at least one of the other three won't be with the Marlins.