The Marlins were thought to be hesitant to move Marcell Ozuna because of their lack of outfield depth. But if the organization does decide to move its starting center fielder, Derek Dietrich would platoon with a right-handed hitter in left field, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
Frisaro adds Christian Yelich, who was a Gold Glove winner in left field last season, would be asked to play center field if Ozuna gets traded.
When the Marlins acquired Dietrich from the Rays, the organization consistently praised his versatility, which might be useful in the immediate future. At one point, Miami felt Dietrich could emerge as its starting second baseman. Although Dietrich has proven he can provide power from the left side of the plate, he has been plagued by defensive issues and offensive inconsistencies. As a result, Dietrich has spent time between Miami and Triple-A New Orleans.
A platoon situation could be realistic, but the Marlins still might be forced to add a right-handed hitting outfielder. Dietrich batted .256/.346/.456 to complement 10 home runs and 24 RBIs over 90 games with the Marlins last season. He batted .178 over 45 at-bats against left-handed pitchers and as a result would be unlikely to start against lefties.
Dietrich hit .273 against righties last season and that might be enough to keep him in the lineup on a regular basis. It is unlikely the Marlins turn to an internal option while trying to find a platoon partner for Dietrich, since there are not many outfielders to choose from. A free agent signing or non-roster invitee competition this spring is likely more realistic.
Yelich has experience in center field but has played in left the last few seasons. He has proven to be a plus defender and that is unlikely to change with a move to center field. Even after the fences at Marlins Park are moved in, center field will likely be the deepest part of the stadium. Yelich's speed could make him a good fit for a position change.
Miami was listening to offers on Ozuna earlier this off-season, but the asking price was thought to be too high and a deal did not get done. Now that Alex Gordon re-signed with the Royals on Wednesday morning, the market for outfielders might begin to develop.
Ozuna, who when healthy and consistent can provide right-handed power, could intrigue multiple clubs. Miami is seeking starting pitching, but a club could be open to trading a starter for Ozuna.
The Marlins might opt to keep Ozuna. But if they don't, the club has a plan in its outfield.