Jazz out to become a top 5 CF in 2023

January 30th, 2023

MIAMI -- The Marlins are planning on switching things up in a big way this season.

After acquiring reigning American League batting champion and All-Star Luis Arraez from the Twins for Pablo López and a pair of prospects on Jan. 20, general manager Kim Ng announced that Marlins All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. would be moving from the infield to play center field.

"Jazz is a very unique athlete, very dynamic," Ng said. "He's got great range, great speed. He's got a lot of the things that you look for when you're thinking about center field. We've seen how he handles popups, and how he ranges to the ones that are really tough to get to."

When Miami traded shortstop Miguel Rojas to the Dodgers in early January, it led many to question whether Chisholm would be moved from second to short. The Bahamian All-Star came up as a shortstop, but he had been the Marlins' Opening Day second baseman the past two seasons.

"We've talked about this for a while," Ng said. "We were never necessarily pressed to think about it meaningfully until probably this offseason. So when this particular opportunity [to pick up Arraez] came up -- and we had some of these such scenarios going on -- it made us think about it harder.

"[Jazz is] pretty intrigued and interested in this situation as well. So that made it a lot easier."

During Sony San Diego Studio's Twitch stream to announce Chisholm as the cover athlete for MLB The Show 23, he addressed the position change for the first time publicly.

"For me, I just feel like I could do anything I put my mind to and just be the best at it," Chisholm said. "They told me that we needed an outfielder. I'm going to go get it, and I'm going to be probably the best outfielder we could have gotten. You had to trade to get a center fielder, and I don't know who we were going to get, but we weren't going to get a top five center fielder in the game. And I feel like I can make myself that in one season."

Asked how many Gold Glove Awards he could win, Chisholm quipped that it "depends how many seasons I play out there." Chisholm went on to say that he had just come from the stadium in the Bahamas, where he was fielding fly balls and taking batting practice. Last weekend, he was working out with former Marlin Gary Sheffield.

Last year, Chisholm was sidelined on June 29 due to lower back problems. It was later determined that he had a stress fracture, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. So the Marlins turned to a slew of players at second base.

But with the Jan. 20 trade, Ng made it clear that Chisholm's future is in the outfield. Arraez will play second base, with some reps at first base backing up Garrett Cooper. Both Jean Segura and Joey Wendle can play third base and shortstop, so expect to see the pair controlling the left side of the infield.

"It's definitely looking a lot better," Ng said of the Marlins' situation heading into Spring Training. "You always want to be better. ... Between the additions and the health, we're in a much better situation than we were six months ago."