When it comes to the outfield, the Marlins know something for sure: Corey Dickerson will start in left and Starling Marte will do so in center. But what’s uncertain to this point is who their right-fielder will be.
According to the Miami Herald, the team is still pursuing a veteran bat to play right field in 2021. But if they don’t get one via trade or free agency, they have the plan of using a platoon in right with speedsters Lewis Brinson and Magneuris Sierra. Reportedly, Monte Harrison and Jesús Sánchez will begin the season in the Minors.
In that scenario, Brinson will start against left-handed hitters while Sierra will be part of the lineup when facing a righty pitcher. Against southpaws, Brinson owns a much better line (.220/.290/.377) than off RHPs (.177/.221/.273). Regarding Sierra, he’s hit for a .282/.333/.372 slash line off righties since 2019 (85 plate appearances).
Harold Ramírez could get opportunities in spring training, but he’s not the favorite to land a job on the active roster (the roster size limit will be 26 spots rather than the 30 spots that MLB teams had available for Opening Day last year). Something similar happens with Garrett Cooper, whom the Marlins don’t see as the regular right-fielder, given his defensive limitations. Cooper would presumably get some at-bats in right from time to time, he’ll be relegated to share first base duties with Jesús Aguilar.
I know I recently wrote the Marlins didn’t need another corner outfielder, but I did so thinking they were willing to use Cooper in RF. Now that I know they’re not, I see a hole there, especially considering Brinson nor Sierra are established, proven hitters in the Majors.
At this time, the Marlins are still considering trading for the Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi or Orioles’ Anthony Santander. At least on paper, they would certainly be an improvement for right field in 2021. But if they plan to acquire any of those guys, it’s obvious to think they’d have to send some of their current players to the other team.
Could it be Cooper? Maybe Aguilar? Or even Sierra? With a potential new right fielder coming to Marlins Park, retaining both Cooper and Aguilar would be redundant. And while Sierra has a lot to offer as a bench guy, the Fish would like him to develop as an everyday player.
Considering the first two guys, the potential lack of the DH in the National League would only hurt the Marlins. Aguilar and Cooper still have years of control and are both affordable. Despite my assessment that Miami needs their bats in the lineup, could at least one of them be on their way out anyway?
The Marlins are not done yet. Although a blockbuster trade seems doubtful, at least a little bit of action should be expected in February.