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Dietrich's versatility will be key again in 2018

Veteran IF/OF could start at 3B, 2B or continue bench role
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- If the Marlins stick with four bench players, Derek Dietrich once again will be counted upon to make an impact at several positions.

The 28-year-old left-handed hitter is a candidate to play three infield spots, plus the corner outfield positions.

MIAMI -- If the Marlins stick with four bench players, Derek Dietrich once again will be counted upon to make an impact at several positions.

The 28-year-old left-handed hitter is a candidate to play three infield spots, plus the corner outfield positions.

There's still uncertainty surrounding which direction the Marlins will be headed when the Hot Stove season heats up after the World Series. The organization may opt to make sweeping changes, or it could part with some core players while trying to remain competitive.

Either way, Dietrich is expected to be part of the Marlins' plans. A number of factors work in his favor -- he offers power, can play multiple positions and his contract is affordable.

After making $1.7 million in 2017, Dietrich projects to earn about $3 million next year in arbitration. In terms of MLB service time, he's at 3 years, 151 days, and he isn't eligible for free agency until '21.

This combination of factors has led to several clubs contacting the Marlins in the past to see if Dietrich is available.

In a utility role, Dietrich had a slash line of .249/.334/.424 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in 2017. He added 56 runs scored and was hit by a pitch 18 times in his 464 plate appearances. Dietrich has always had a knack for taking one for the team -- having been plunked 72 times in 459 MLB games.

Video: ATL@MIA: Dietrich nabs Phillips with nice diving stop

Depending on which moves Miami makes in the upcoming months, Dietrich could find himself as the club's starting second or third baseman, or at least in a platoon situation.

If second baseman Dee Gordon or third baseman Martin Prado are dealt, Dietrich could start at either position. He's played 188 games at second and 143 at third in his career.

Rookie Brian Anderson showed promise as a September callup, and he could be the everyday third baseman if Prado is dealt. But Anderson also may not be ready after Spring Training, and he may open next year at Triple-A New Orleans.

Dietrich also can play some first base, but with Justin Bour expected back, Dietrich's time there would likely be limited.

For Dietrich to establish himself as an everyday player, he needs to show more consistency. The ups and downs of his game surfaced early and late. He started off batting .217 in April, but finished hitting .281 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in September/October.

No matter the month, Dietrich is a threat. Of his 101 hits, 40 were extra-base hits, including five triples. One adjustment he has to make is on offspeed pitches. According to Statcast™, Dietrich batted .371 against four-seam fastballs, but .197 against sliders and .192 off curveballs.

During the season, manager Don Mattingly noted Dietrich had a nice swing, but he had trouble sticking to an approach. When things didn't work, he'd quickly change.

"Seeing him hit with more rhythm instead of getting stagnant up there and just letting it go," Mattingly said.

Regardless of Dietrich's role, he should have plenty of chances to let it go in 2018.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Derek Dietrich