There are better alternatives for the Miami Marlins than Alex Rodriguez. This is not a moral judgment. This is a baseball judgment.The Marlins, after losing slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, possibly for the rest of the regular season with a Grade 3 groin strain, are searching for help. They have expressed
There are better alternatives for the Miami Marlins than Alex Rodriguez. This is not a moral judgment. This is a baseball judgment.
The Marlins, after losing slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, possibly for the rest of the regular season with a Grade 3 groin strain, are searching for help. They have expressed an interest in obtaining A-Rod, who finished his playing career with the Yankees last weekend.
The Marlins have done a terrific job of remaining afloat in the race for a postseason berth. They opened the week just a half-game out of a National League Wild card berth. The injury to Stanton is an obvious setback, and the search for a way to compensate for that loss is the next logical development.
Signing A-Rod would not be the next logical development for two fundamental reasons: 1. Miami does not play in the American League where Rodriguez could get at-bats as a designated hitter; 2. even an AL club would have to consider A-Rod's work this season, with a slash line of .200/.247/.351.
The Marlins can't play Rodriguez at third, because the incumbent there, Martín Prado, is a mainstay of this club and was hitting .321 with a .374 on-base percentage through Sunday.
You saw what the Yankees thought of A-Rod's defense in his farewell performance at Yankee Stadium. Rodriguez asked manager Joe Girardi if he could play third in his last game as a Bronx Bomber. Girardi allowed A-Rod to play third for one batter in the ninth inning of the Yanks' 6-3 victory over the Rays.
There have been reports that Miami would play Rodriguez at first base since its regular first baseman, Justin Bour, is likely out until September with a high ankle sprain.
Rodriguez has started one game at first base as a Major Leaguer. That was in 2015. As a first baseman, he is an unknown quantity.
Yes, A-Rod grew up in South Florida and makes his home there. But the Marlins are looking for run production, not a public relations coup.
As far as leadership, the Marlins are in good hands. President of baseball operations Michael Hill is an intelligent baseball man, an intelligent man, period. Manager Don Mattingly, may very well win the 2016 NL Manager of the Year Award. Donnie Baseball may be getting the credit he should have received, but he didn't when managing the Dodgers to three straight NL West titles.
The market is not flooded with obvious candidates for run production in mid-August. But there are possibilities. Outfielder Carlos Gómez was recently designated for assignment by the Astros. Gomez did not perform well in Houston, but he is only 30 and is just two years from being a repeat All-Star. A change of scenery could revive Gomez's career. And when he is right, he is a source of energy for the entire roster.
Gomez could platoon with Ichiro Suzuki in right and get spot starts at the other two outfield spots. He has never played first base, which means he has started one fewer game there than Rodriguez.
For a regular first baseman, perhaps the Marlins could strike a waiver deal with the rebuilding Brewers for Chris Carter. He strikes out frequently, but he has genuine power with 27 homers this season.
Miami is currently going with Chris Johnson at first against left-handed pitchers and Derek Dietrich against right-handers. Mattingly sounded the right note about the need for the rest of the Marlins to step up in Stanton's absence.
"It means we've got to find another way to win, simple as that," Mattingly said. "We did it early in the year. Giancarlo early in the year was not really contributing and he wasn't swinging well, but we were able to sustain. I think that's really what we have to do. We talked about it in Spring Training. We have to find a way to win games."
There should be better ways for the Marlins to win those games than acquiring Rodriguez. True, they would be quieter ways, but that might be better as well.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com.