Heading into the offseason, the Marlins are reportedly optimistic with regard to the future of left fielder Christian Yelich. And the organization is so confident in the young outfielder that they have internally considered moving him to first base.
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro recently noted Yelich could be one of several Marlins to undergo a positional change this offseason.
Before the season ended, there were reports that suggested the Marlins internally had a desire to move Yelich to first base and start from scratch in left field, likely looking to add an experienced outfielder who will be available and affordable on the free agent market.
Having Yelich play first base would require the Marlins to pursue a free agent left fielder in a market that will likely be limited. But if Yelich and the signed outfielder play better than the combination of Yelich and Jones, it may be a beneficial option.
Offensively, Yelich had a solid season, posting a .284/.362/.402 batting line with nine home runs and 54 RBIs. He was consistent in the leadoff spot for the Marlins, but will likely be a number two or even three hitter moving forward. Miami is so content with Yelich's first full major league season they may consider signing him to a longterm deal this offseason.
While the Marlins are pleased with the way Yelich has developed, most of the speculation is the result of the Marlins questioning Garrett Jones' productivity. Jones posted a .246/.309/.411 average with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs in 146 games. He was able to stay healthy, but may not satisfy Miami's offensive demands at a power position.
When the Marlins signed him, they were under the impression Jones would join Casey McGehee as a veteran bat that would be able to protect Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. However, Jones' bat was inconsistent, and he found himself at the bottom of the order as the season progressed.
Miami owes Jones $5 million next season, which may lead to them keeping him and having Yelich remain in left field. Despite the financial commitment, the Marlins are reportedly looking for a way to trade Jones and have another team pay some of his remaining contract.
Defensive concerns for Yelich at first base shouldn't be brought up considering Yelich was a first baseman in high school. Jones, who has also seen time in the outfield in his major league career, wasn't necessarily a plus defensive option, and therefore the Marlins wouldn't mind moving on in that respect.
The Marlins have just started creating their offseason plans, but Christian Yelich to first base may not be a bad choice moving forward.