COMMENTARY – Destin Hood’s statistics for the season was impressive. The September call up from Triple-A New Orleans had a slash line of .267/.316/.435 with 15 home runs and 80 RBIs in 126 games. The Miami Marlins got a taste of their future outfielder and what they could expect once the organization heads to spring training.
The Marlins also got a sampling of what Xavier Scruggs could do on the major league level after being brought up from New Orleans when Giancarlo Stanton suffered a groin injury. Both outfielders will go into February hoping to make the major league roster. There is only one problem with the two working to fulfill their major league dreams – Miami already has a crowded outfield.
I will never say having too much talent is a bad thing in Major League Baseball, but this might be the case for Miami, whose outfield prospects are some of the best in baseball, period. Add to the list Yefri Perez and his speed, Ichiro Suzuki and his bat and Jeff Francoeur and his ability to come off the bench and manager Don Mattingly has a problem many teams would love to have – too many good players. Welcome to the new version of “Something’s Got to Give.”
I am a big proponent of not changing what works, especially on a team full of youth in the outfield, but Miami is short of two things – wins and a solid pitching staff. The loss of Jose Fernandez aside, the club needs help in the rotation and needs more depth in the bullpen. Miami is expected to not pick up the option on Fernando Rodney and the injuries over the course of the season to AJ Ramos and Mike Dunn have to weigh heavily in roster decisions.
The rotation had its issues as well. Wei-Yin Chen spent considerable time on the disabled list with an elbow strain. Adam Conley was on and off the bump as well. Andrew Cashner may not be back and both Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino were spot starters off and off this past season and hope to make the opening day roster. There is help on the farm from Luis Castillo who may earn a spot on the roster at some point in 2017. Jake Esch and Austin Brice figure in the equation somewhere and at some point, Jarlin Garcia will be in Miami.
Plenty of possibilities, not enough solutions. While the pitching staff needs medical attention now, with a No. 1 starter to be found, trading outfielders seems to be the logical solution. But “who” and at “what price?”
Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals might be an option if the team does not pick up his 2017 option. Clay Buchholz could also be an option in free agency. The team could also look to make a blockbuster trade for a starter, who Ozuna or possibly Stanton due to his huge contract. I think Ozuna is more likely to be moved and the team will see how the season breaks down before there is talk of Stanton as a trade commodity.
Another option is for the team to move minor league talent with the hope of gaining a starter in the rotation. The only issue I see in this is the ball club gave up Josh Naylor to grab Cashner, who may not be on the roster in 2017.
There are plenty of opportunities and plenty of potential failures in making the wrong move.