MIAMI -- The Marlins made a few moves on Saturday to improve themselves defensively and increase their roster flexibility.
In recent days, manager Don Mattingly lamented the club's defensive issues. Dean had his struggles in right field and left field since he was called up on April 12.
At the plate, Dean hit .227 with a home run and six RBIs in 23 plate appearances. Dean’s big night came in a 10-3 win over the Phillies on April 13, when he was 4-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs. Since that game, he was 1-for-16 (.063), and defensively, according to FanGraphs, he is worth minus-4 Defensive Runs Saved.
“Obviously, he gives us offense in that [April 13] game,” Mattingly said. “But after that, there’s a lot of chase. … But I think the main thing was, with this outfield, we’ve got to be able to defend better, with our pitching. We cannot afford to give up extra runs, extra outs. So we’re going to try to limit that as much as we can.”
At Triple-A, Berti compiled a .286/.490/.486 line with two home runs and three RBIs. The 29-year-old fits what the Marlins are looking for -- versatile athletes who play multiple positions. He’s already played left field, center, third base and shortstop this season. A non-roster invitee, Berti impressed the Marlins' staff in Spring Training.
In Saturday's 9-3 win over the Nationals, Berti entered the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and eventually scored on Neil Walker's RBI fielder's choice.
“He’s just a guy that knew how to play,” Mattingly said of what stood out about Berti in Spring Training. “He’s a good baserunner. Took professional at-bats, all the time. That’s what we will be looking for.”
Berti appeared in four games for the Blue Jays in 2018.
“We see him all over the field,” Mattingly said. “He’s another guy who can play center, left, second, short, third.”
The Marlins are looking to mix things up. Brian Anderson, who has played third base exclusively this season, was penciled into right field for Saturday's matchup against the Nationals. Anderson played in 91 games in right field last season.
“He was 100 percent in,” Mattingly said. “His words, ‘I’m a baseball player. I’m here to play.’"
The Marlins see Anderson being used similarly to the way the Cubs use Kris Bryant, who has the ability to play third base and corner outfield.
“We look at him, in a sense, like a Kris Bryant,” Mattingly said. “We’ve seen it with the Cubs. They’d put him in left field two days, and playing third the third day. We see it the same way with Andy. Some days he could be in right, and other days at third.”
On Saturday, Anderson picked up his first outfield assist, fielding Matt Adams' double down the right-field line and then hitting the cutoff man, Starlin Castro, who fired the ball home to nab the baserunner, Juan Soto.
Having Anderson available for third base will be important, because Martin Prado’s playing time will be monitored, due to past injury concerns.
“We’ll have a plan in place for him to not be in a bunch of days in a row,” Mattingly said.
The Marlins consider Anderson their third baseman of the future, but out of necessity, he will be in right.
“I’m just going to go out there and try to make the routine plays,” Anderson said.
“It allows us to get Martin in there more, and it makes us better, defensively,” Mattingly said. “From the standpoint of a solid guy in right field on an everyday basis. That’s one of the things when we talked with Andy, we wouldn’t have done this without him being willing.”