We’re closing in on the first exhibition game of 2021 Spring Training (exactly when that will be is currently being negotiated). The Marlins will probably wait until deep into camp to decide on their starting second baseman. So far, according to General Manager Kim Ng, there are three clear candidates: Isan Diaz, Jazz Chisholm, and Jon Berti.
At least to this point, Díaz might have an edge to win the everyday job. Why? He’s older and more experienced than Chisholm, second base is his natural position, he’s arguably the hitter with the highest ceiling out of those three, and Berti doesn’t necessarily have to play 2B to get regular at-bats.
At least at the beginning of the season, the most logical approach for the Marlins is to give Díaz another chance to embrace the everyday role—he’s still only 24—and use Berti as the fine utility man he’s been for the Marlins thus far while giving Jazz a little more seasoning either in Double-A or Triple-A, an affiliate where he hasn’t played yet.
In the perfect scenario, Díaz possesses the potential to hit 30 home runs in the Majors. The Marlins could desperately uses that lefty pop; otherwise, Corey Dickerson is their only power threat in the lineup from that side of the plate, along with Lewin Díaz if he squeezes onto the active roster somehow.
With Díaz at second and Chisholm getting everyday reps on the farm, Berti could rotate all over the diamond depending on what’s necessary for Miami. He can offer his dynamic performance, along with his OBP skills, good defense, and speed on the basepaths.
And, hey, don’t worry about Chisholm. In this scenario, he should find his way up to the Majors at some point of ‘21. For now, I believe he needs more seasoning in the Minors—he just turned 23 on Monday, has only 458 plate appearances in Double-A, and outside of a few thrilling moments looked terrible for the big-league team in what I think was a rushed debut in 2020.
Looking ahead to 2022, Miguel Rojas has a club option that should be exercised by the team, with no doubt. The Marlins need his leadership, he has improved offensively, and provides solid defense at shortstop. He’ll be a valuable piece for a team that’s trying to contend in the NL East.
Then, the Fish could either let Rojas go after 2022 in order to hand Jazz the shortstop duties or re-sign him to be their utility guy to play third, short, and second.
Ultimately, Spring Training will dictate how this competition works out. This is just a scenario that popped into my mind. What’s your ideal one? Let us know in the comments!