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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Still wondering about Boni

Juan C. Rodriguez asks a question
  Al Bello/Getty Images
  Marlins third baseman Emilio Bonifacio is struggling this season.
I thought we'd already answered: "Can the Marlins win with Emilio Bonifacio at third base?" I wouldn't get used to him being there. Not in the lineup regularly, anyway. I don't know if Bonifacio's still in there because the Marlins are trying to justify a trade, or because someone's got a serious blind spot, or because of something else. I don't want to suggest that management is foolish; it's just that management is behaving foolishly in this particular case. Hey, everybody makes mistakes. Usually they're not so glaring as this one, but someone has to be No. 1, right?

Regarding Fredi Gonzalez, either he really believes that claptrap he's spouting or he's just saying something nice because he has to. If it's the latter, I feel sorry for Marlins fans.

Regarding Gaby Sanchez, I'm not sure why his switch to third base isn't considered more newsworthy. The Marlins moved him a few weeks ago, and he's now got nearly as many games at third base as first. This, after he was voted the best defensive first baseman in the Southern League last year; the Marlins wouldn't have moved him back to third -- where he played quite a bit early in his pro career, and then again last season -- if they didn't think that position might be in his immediate future (and it's not like they have a powerhouse first baseman ahead of him).

Just one problem: Sanchez has been moved off third base twice in his pro career already, simply because he wasn't much good at it; in 126 games there, he's got a .917 fielding percentage, and that just won't play in the majors. So this is probably his last shot. If he doesn't start making the plays, he'll go back to first base for good. And the early returns are not good: four errors in 19 games.

If Sanchez can't play third base, can someone else? Sure. Right now the Marlins often have three second basemen in the lineup: Bonifacio (at third), Dan Uggla (at second) and rookie Chris Coghlan (in left field).

Coghlan hits like a second baseman, Uggla hits like a third baseman, and Bonifacio hits like a surprise call-up from Class AA.

Coghlan used to play third base, in the minors. Uggla's been playing second base like a third baseman for years. Bonifacio's glovework (which is shoddy) is irrelevant because you could justify playing him regularly only if he were a Gold Glove shortstop (which he is not).

Depending on how you measure such things, the Marlins have one, two, or three players who are capable of assuming Bonifacio's duties, and the only catch is that they might have to find a new left fielder. Which -- as I noted just a few days ago -- shouldn't be all that hard, considering that top prospect Cameron Maybin has a .410 on-base percentage with New Orleans this season.

And yes, it was just a few days ago. Sue me. In Blogging for Idiots, right there on Page 37, it says to keep hammering the same point until the suits do what you've told them to do. It also says on Page 37 that when that happens, you get to take credit. So, you can understand my fixation on this matter.

(H/T: BTF's Newsstand)