Inbox: Could prospect Jensen be in big league mix?
Inbox: Could prospect Jensen be in big league mix?
By Joe Frisaro
Would the Marlins consider making an offensive upgrade at catcher with the acquisition of either Wilin Rosario of the Rockies or J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays? Arencibia would be a natural fit since he is a hometown kid.
-- Camilo T., Miami
Rosario is a terrific hitter who is coming off a season in which he batted .292 with 21 homers and 79 RBIs. His numbers are similar at home run-happy Coors Field as they are on the road, increasing his value.
Young talent like this is hard to acquire, unless the Marlins were willing to part with plenty of their high-end prospects. The question why would the Rockies trade Rosario?
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Entering arbitration for the first time, Arencibia is in line to see his salary jump from $506,000 to close to $3 million. The 27-year-old attended Westminster Christian High in Miami. But production, not hometown roots, is what the Marlins are seeking.
Statistics from Toronto players can sometimes be deceiving, because Rogers Centre is hitter-friendly. Arencibia, for instance, batted .242 with 13 homers and 32 RBIs at home, compared to .147 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs on the road.
Perhaps a more realistic trade option is Chris Iannetta of the Angels, a 30-year-old who is under contract for two more seasons at $10.5 million. Iannetta batted .225 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs, and his on-base percentage was .358. The trade return wouldn't be as high as Rosario.
The Marlins, obviously, are in the market for more power, but it doesn't necessarily have to come from the catcher position.
With all the young, controllable pitching the Marlins have, should they make a trade with the Angels for Mark Trumbo? The Marlins have stated they need more pop and protection for Giancarlo Stanton.
-- Devin S., Lake Worth, Fla.
Trumbo is a name the Marlins certainly should be talking about. The slugger turns 28 in January, and he has 95 home runs over the past three seasons, including 34 with 100 RBIs in 2013.
Trumbo made $540,000 this season, and he is heading to arbitration for the first time. It would take one or more of Miami's starting pitchers, or maybe even closer Steve Cishek, to land him.
If such a deal was made, the combination of Trumbo and Stanton would be fun to watch. Still, there are some questions regarding Trumbo. He can be an all-or-nothing presence at the plate. He batted .234 with an on-base percentage of .294, and he struck out 184 times in 678 plate appearances. Yet he is durable, appearing in 159 games.
If the Marlins wanted to get creative and make a big splash, they could consider addressing a couple of needs in one trade. A potential scenario could be putting a package together for Trumbo and Iannetta. Just a thought.
The Marlins need power and they have that in the Minors in Kyle Jensen, who wasn't even a September callup. Jensen had more home runs than Stanton last season, when you count his numbers at Double-A and Triple-A. Why not bring him up?
-- Mark R., Miami
You raise a good point. I, too, wondered why Jensen wasn't given a look. The 25-year-old is on the 40-man roster, so they didn't need to make a corresponding move. The club didn't hesitate to call up a number of its prospects, yet it didn't do so with Jensen.
Jensen hit 16 homers with Jacksonville and 12 more after he was brought up to New Orleans, finishing with 28 home runs and 78 RBIs.
Making consistent contact is an issue. Jensen combined to bat .235 with a .328 on-base percentage, and he struck out 144 times in 447 at-bats. It appears he projects more as a bench player.
There was some talk before Spring Training about possibly switching Jensen, listed at 6-foot-3, 247-pounds, to first base. But that didn't happen, either. Jensen plays the corner outfield spots, and Miami already is deep in those areas.
If the Marlins are unable to acquire sufficient power in a trade or through free agency, figuring out how best to use Jensen could be an option for the club heading into Spring Training.
Is there any talk about moving the fences in at Marlins Park like several other clubs have already done?
-- John, Watertown, N.Y.
Internally, the front office has had and likely will continue to have those discussions. The organization is open to the idea. Quite frankly, to a number of the hitters like Stanton and Logan Morrison, the size of the ballpark is an issue. Batters get demoralized to not be rewarded for 400-foot drives that become easy outs.
The Marlins were last in the Majors in home runs with 95 in 2013, and only 36 of those were hit at spacious Marlins Park.
If the club wanted, it could configure a temporary fence in center field, and have it ready by Opening Day. But I doubt the team would do a quick fix. Instead, I think it would want to get it done with more thought and do it right.
In my opinion, a more realistic early time frame would be having the fences brought in with a more comprehensive plan in 2015. The way the ballpark is configured, not all the fences would be moved. Down the lines, and each bullpen area, would likely remain the same. We're mainly talking about adjusting the gaps and center field.
Such a renovation would begin at the edge of the wall in front of The Clevelander in left, and wind up at the edge of the Marlins' bullpen in right field.
What are good options for second base and third base? Should they go with Donovan Solano, Chris Coghlan and Derek Dietrich, or should they make a trade or add a free agent?
-- Mike R., Fort Lauderdale
With third base, you are talking about one of the highest priorities of the offseason. Second base may wind up being a competition between Solano and Dietrich.
At third, Placido Polanco is a free agent, and he is now 38. It is not likely he will return. Colin Moran is regarded as the third baseman of the future, so for next year, you are looking at a stop-gap.
Coghlan could be an option. If he is, he needs to acclimate himself again to the position he last played a majority of the time when he was in the Minor Leagues.
The Marlins may find themselves making a minor signing or a trade to fill the position at least for one more season. Perhaps even Dietrich or Solano could play some third. All options are on the table.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.