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The case for Magneuris Sierra as an “opener”

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Considering an unorthodox approach to outfielder usage.

MLB: MAY 19 Marlins at Phillies Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier this week, Ely Sussman wrote how “When Sierra Starts, the Fish win.” Making the observation that the team has a 17-9 record when he starts dating back to 2020 (they’re now 18-9 following Wednesday’s game). It’s counterintuitive when considering Magneuris Sierra’s underwhelming individual stats and obvious limitations at the plate. The Marlins have declined to start him regularly when their full complement of outfield options are healthy.

I’m here to ask: why not?

Typically, Sierra comes into the game as a defensive substitute or a pinch runner or as a perhaps uninspiring outing as a pinch-hitter. For the moment, there are occasional opportunities in the lineup because he’s filling in for the injured Starling Marte (Lewis Brinson, who the club remains inexplicably fond of, is also hurt).

After Marte returns to the team, the Marlins will be in a more abstract spot with regards to their 26-man roster. Magneuris Sierra is out of options on his contract and would have to be DFA’d and exposed to waivers if he doesn’t fit on the roster—the Marlins organization would risk losing his talents to another organization.

So let’s take that situation to its logical conclusion. It might be fallacious thinking to claim that the Marlins have won at such a high rate because Sierra is in these games from start to finish. However, as an interesting alternative to reverting to his reserve role, could he help out as a defensive “opener” for them?

Marlins starting pitchers would benefit from Sierra’s defense when compared to Corey Dickerson’s or Garrett Cooper’s. A hard-hit ball off a rare mistake by Sandy, López and Rogers has a higher chance of being caught by the fleet-footed Sierra. Offensively, the Marlins could bury him 8th in the batting order so as to not limit any of his more powerful teammates from getting priority at the plate. If/when there’s an obvious RBI opportunity, Don Mattingly could lift Mags for a pinch-hitter.

Personally, I’m not sure whether or not I like it. To me, it makes sense to option Lewis Brinson to AAA once reinstated from the IL because they don’t have the same flexibility with Sierra. He has to either contribute in The Show or he’s as good as gone.

Would this unorthodox approach to outfield management fly in the clubhouse, who knows, but why not give it a shot?

Poll

Why not?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Sierra doesn’t have a place on the roster
    (6 votes)
  • 18%
    Sierra is better utilized off the bench
    (9 votes)
  • 40%
    The Marlins need to start their best hitters
    (20 votes)
  • 30%
    This is actually worth a shot!
    (15 votes)
50 votes total Vote Now