With the Marlins trading Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Washington Nationals for Emilio Bonifacio and two low level minor leaguers, you have to wonder what the Marlins are up to? Bonafacio is a 2bman, and a very good one in the field. At the plate, not so much. But he has that skill that you cannot teach....SPEED. And the Marlins apparently want to go back to basics in 2009 with good infield defense and good baserunning....that is, if you believe Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest.
Here is what he had to say after the deal (from MLB.com):
Beinfest said internally the Marlins are excited about the prospect of having three burners in the lineup: Bonifacio, Maybin and Ramirez.
While the 2008 squad set a franchise record with 208 home runs, which was third best in the Major Leagues, they paced the league with 1,371 strikeouts.
"We're going to try to strike out fewer times," Beinfest said. "We're going to try to put the ball in play. We're going to try to put pressure on our opponents with speed on the basepaths. If that means we have to trade off some power to produce runs in other fashions, that's what we're going to try to do. I think that's where we are heading. So it will figure itself out. We have some people who can hit in the middle of the lineup."
But the Marlins apparently want to move Bonifacio to 3b. I don't buy it. Granted, Dan Uggla is their current 2bman, and an all-star. Plus, he could fill the role of the cleanup hitter, after Bonifacio-Baker-HanRam. But he also strikes out alot. Wait a minute...he strikes out a TON! He lead the team in strikeouts in 2008 with 171 in 531 ABs, which was good for 3rd in the NL behind Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds. That's about 1 in every 3 ABs.
Uggla is due a raise this off-season, and judging by the Marlins recent trade activity, they are dealing players up for arbitration or with a high salary....err.....for the Marlins. Uggla falls into the arbitration category. Consider that with the fact that the Marlins have plenty of guys who can play 3b-Jorge Cantu, Dallas McPherson, and Wes Helms. Something has got to give. I don't see the Marlins fetching alot for McPherson or Helms.
So where could Uggla land? The Dodgers have a vacancy at 2b with Jeff Kent retiring, that is, if they intend to play Blake Dewitt at 3b. The Mets could trade for Uggla if they can find someone to eat Luis Castillo's contract, which is unlikely. Then again, the Mets could eat it, and make Castillo a utility player, ala Juan Pierre. The Cardinals are looking for a 2bman, and someone who can hit behind Albert Pujols. Uggla fills both of those requirements.