Just when we thought that the Marlins were done adding to their offense for 2020, news broke this week that they have signed journeyman veteran outfielder Matt Joyce to a major league deal. By doing so, Miami continues upgrading its talent level while further complicating the playing time equation, with seemingly all seven outfielders on the 40-man roster, Brian Anderson, Jon Berti, Jonathan Villar, Spring Training NRI Matt Kemp, and now Joyce all in the mix for the three spots.
More pressing than who will start on Opening Day is the fact that someone currently on the roster has to be designated for assignment or traded in order to make the Joyce signing official. Technically, a pitcher could be removed instead to make way for the 35-year-old, but that may already be taking place to accommodate the pending arrival of Brandon Kintzler.
Therefore, that narrows it down to two players who are realistically on the chopping block: Lewis Brinson and Magneuris Sierra. After making the case for Sierra as the best candidate to start in center field for the Marlins on Opening Day a few weeks ago, frequent readers of the site will already know my position on which of the two should be DFA'd.
To put it simply, Brinson has a slash line of .183/.238/.293 over 709 MLB plate appearances and has shown little to no promise since arriving in Miami. Comparatively, Sierra's slash line of .247/.282/.271 over 262 MLB plate appearances is not much better, but the Dominican played well after his late-season call-up in 2019 and brings to the table blazing speed which could change the dynamic of the team's lineup.
Taking opinions out of the equation and simply thinking logically leads to the same outcome. The Marlins clearly see something that they like in both Brinson and Sierra—they did acquire them and add them to the active roster in the first place. Therefore, they probably want to keep them both within the organization to continue their development and hopefully unlock further potential. Despite his well-publicized struggles in the big leagues, Brinson could be seen by other teams as a somewhat intriguing trade chip given his once highly-touted background as a prospect and his one remaining minor league option. While we would not be talking a Top 100 prospect in return for the South Florida native, a similar haul to the Austin Dean trade would not be out of the question.
So, could the signing of Matt Joyce really signal the end for Lewis Brinson in Miami? Probably not after the Marlins have repeatedly expressed to the media that they were planning to give the 25-year-old every chance to win the starting center field job in Spring Training. However, considering that Brinson was one of the front-runners to secure a spot as recently as last week, the move to acquire Joyce could be indicative of a change of heart about him.