As David Pinto notes, the Marlins and the Mariners have both balanced their streaks this season to sit around .500 and are actually contending in their weak divisions. I've already given my prescription for the M's -- get Mike Carp and Michael Saunders into the lineup, stat -- but what about the Marlins?
R.J. Anderson suggests that maybe it's Maybin Time:
- Cameron Maybin's stay in the minors could be coming to an end soon. The Marlins' collective centerfielders aren't getting the job done, ranking in the bottom third of the league in offensive and defensive contributions. Meanwhile, Maybin has scorched Triple-A in his second month at the level. Overall, Maybin is hitting .323/.404/.452 with a homerun, four stolen bags, and a passable BB/K ratio.
There's also the question of whether Maybin is indeed ready for major league action. Given a limited sample size of just under 200 plate appearances, Maybin has hit a pedestrian .242/.309/.345; although, the incumbent group of centerfielders is not doing much better, with a combined line of .272/.321/.443. If Maybin is able to make contact better than 70% of the time, he could do a lot better.
Anderson is selling the Marlins' center fielders short, because lately center field has been manned solely by Cody Ross, and Ross' hitting stats would place him in the upper third of the league's center fielders. While it's true that his fielding stats this season aren't good, career-wise he's been fine.
The question really isn't whether Maybin's better than Ross. The question is whether Maybin's better than rookie left fielder Chris Coghlan or right fielder Jeremy Hermida, both of whom have been less than brilliant. And the question might even be whether Maybin's better than backup outfielders Alfredo Amezaga and Alejandro De Aza, both of whom haven't ever hit (or ever will).
In a close-run thing, the only way to win is to get your talent on the field. Maybin's struggled during two of his major league trials, but he's pretty clearly more talented right now than the Marlins' fourth and fifth outfielders. I suppose they don't want him sitting on the bench and wasting developmental (and service) time, but they probably should find a place for him.
All that said, though -- and I hate to keep harping on this, but the Marlins leave me no choice -- the real problem isn't in the outfield; it's at third base, where Emilio Bonifacio just keeps sucking up plate appearances, game after game after game after game.
Which Marlin has the lowest on-base percentage? Emilio Bonifacio.
Which Marlin has the lowest slugging percentage? Emilio Bonifacio.
Which Marlin has the most plate appearances? Emilio Bonifacio. Naturally.
And you know what the kicker is? He's not even a good third baseman.
If Marlins management were a doctor, the fans could sue for malpractice. I love an underdog, but any team that believes Emilio Bonifacio is an every-day third baseman simply doesn't deserve to win.