Justin Bour is giving the Marlins multiple reasons to believe he can play first base consistently and produce heading into 2015. But if the Marlins want to maximize production next season, a platoon situation would likely be ideal.
Last offseason, it did not appear the Marlins would have to concern themselves with finding a first baseman. The club signed Michael Morse to a two year contract after he thrived with San Francisco last season and was confident he would be able to be a starter for at least a pair of seasons. But that was not the case.
Over 93 games this season, Morse is batting .241/.316/.350 to complement five home runs and 18 RBIs. When he was with the Marlins, he also spent time on the disabled list. Miami opted to trade him to Los Angeles before the non-waiver trade deadline, and the Dodgers subsequently moved him to Pittsburgh. Morse's inconsistencies prove a platoon situation at first base is the best possible option for the Marlins moving forward.
Bour, 27, has had a notable amount of success over the last few weeks. Over 123 games, he is batting .268/.328/.490 to complement 23 home runs and 71 RBIs. His .887 OPS in September is notable, however he has not received a lot of playing time against left-handed pitchers. Bour is batting .233 against lefties this season and is a career .231 hitter against them. The fact Bour is consistent is positive, although having an additional right-handed bat to make spot starts at first base would likely prove to be beneficial.
The upcoming free agent market for first baseman does not include any major names or bats that would potentially prove to be more productive than Bour. However, if the Marlins can add a right-handed infielder before the start of next season, they would likely see an increase in production from their first baseman.
Mike Napoli (.205 and 35 RBIs), Mark Reynolds (.230 and 35 RBIs), and Steve Pearce (.227 with 24 RBIs) are all set to become free agents however none of the three have had a notably successful year offensively. Edwin Encarnacion could be realistic if the Blue Jays do not exercise his $10 million option for 2016.
Miami has lacked first base stability in the past. In order to maximize production from their first baseman, platooning Bour and another bat would likely be most beneficial.