December 10, 2013 in Offseason
Ok, I’ll admit it. Logan Morrison perturbs me. He thinks Twitter is more important than working on his swing and his defense – and with a guru like Perry Hill on your team, your defense should improve through osmosis alone.
LoMo’s “tell it like it is/keep it real” persona on Twitter is a distraction. I have seen his tweets coming while he was supposed to be playing in a game. He even recently was bad-mouthing fans in Miami – which, in point of fact, doesn’t take much given our horrible state of fandom down here. Maybe on teams where there are more veterans he wouldn’t get away with it. Maybe he just needs to get punched in the face over it. Maybe he just needs to mature. Whatever it is, the guy is only 26 and still has quite a long baseball career in front of him – he’s hardly washed up.
Morrison came onto the scene as a hitter with a great swing, the ability to drive the ball to the gaps, and with power. He hasn’t demonstrated that really since 2011, his last full season in the bigs. Plagued by reoccurring knee injuries, in which the Marlins mishandled his first episode back in 2012, LoMo hasn’t quite been able to put it all together.
So, what do the Fish do? They cut bait. Ok, maybe he’s done. But right now, there is no better time to take a chance on Morrison who is healthy for the first time in 2 seasons, and at only 26 still has upside. His trade value is as low as it could possibly get and the rumors about his trade value are only going to net a utility type player like a Sean Rodriguez from the Rays. Meanwhile, Mark Trumbo, who has had back to back 30+ home run seasons, is getting a lot of interest. Not to say that Morrison is Trumbo, but it gives you a sense of the market out there for a 1B with some power – and Trumbo has little else to offer. Morrison at least has a batter’s eye and should improve his OBP and OPS. He can also, in theory, work on his defense to become more tolerable, too.
If the Marlins were in talks about acquiring a potential run producer at 3B for Morrison, then this deal would make sense. But there doesn’t seem to be much promise in getting anything in return.
Let’s look at the flip side – who is going to replace Morrison at 1B? Garrett Jones comes in having hit home runs and has a more proven track record. But he is here for 2 seasons and will need someone to platoon against lefties. After his 2 years are up, then what? Mark Canha? The Fish are not long on prospects at 1B unless they see more in Joe Mahoney than others.
The Marlins are trying to find a stop-gap solution for 3B until Colin Moran is ready. But what about 1B?
It would seem smarter to keep Morrison on the roster. Let him come in and compete for the 1B spot. Maybe he can push Jones to the bench. Or at the very least, offer up a platoon and improve his trade value a bit. Morrison, like Jones, can also play in the OF, too. Heck, maybe try Morrison at 3B. All of those options have more upside than trading him for yet another utility type player – the Marlins already have plenty of them in Ed Lucas, Donovan Solano, and even Chris Coghlan (whom they hope to re-sign). The Marlins could try out a guy like Mat Gamel at 3B or find a free agent like Juan Uribe to hold it down for a few years. They wouldn’t have to touch their “inventory” of surplus pitching and could continue to wait for Moran while competing at the big league level.
Trading Morrison at best is a lateral move where you shift the problems of Morrison to 3B in a possible trade scenario in which case the Jones addition makes sense. But if a player that is yielded is a utility-type hitter, with no power and a slappy bat, then trading Morrison away will be a mistake. Yes, the same argument maybe was made for Gaby Sanchez when he was dealt to the Pirates, but he never showed the type of patience at the plate Morrison did and yet he was pretty solid (19 HRs, 150+ hits in 2 straight seasons). Wouldn’t the Marlins be better with Sanchez at 1B these days?
Morrison most likely will be dealt and will move on to another club where he will blossom. That will be unfortunate because the last thing the new regime wants to do is make a critical mistake in evaluating potential. This team is young and even though they want to bridge winning sooner, so that the fan base will at least pay attention, they don’t want it to come at the expense of their talent. Morrison is a guy the Fish scouted, drafted, and developed. Seeing him off now, although understandable, only makes sense if the Marlins get a significant upgrade in return. That may cost the Marlins a pitcher to net a solid 3B – which would only be a short term solution if the Marlins plans to get Moran in there have any real teeth.
We will know which way things go this week as the Marlins look to the Winter Meetings to see if they can find a taker in the Logan Morrison sweepstakes. If they are to prove themselves as a potential winning franchise ever again, they must get a smart deal in return.