First base alternatives for Marlins
MIAMI — Logan Morrison’s knee injury has created uncertainty in the Marlins infield.
Morrison isn’t expected to begin running until about a week into Spring Training, which raises the question — who will play first base?
There aren’t too many candidates on the 40-man roster. Greg Dobbs, best suited as a left-handed bat off the bench, will certainly get some work at first base. So will Joe Mahoney, a left-handed hitter formerly in the Orioles’ system.
Those are the only two serious choices on the 40-man roster.
Don’t expect the Marlins to make a push to bring back Carlos Lee, now a free agent after playing the position for Miami in the second half of ’12.
The Nationals are shopping Michael Morse, but the Marlins aren’t a likely trade match.
An internal candidate to keep an eye on is Kyle Jensen, a 24-year-old who was Miami’s 12th round pick in 2009.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder is a natural corner outfielder. Look for him to see time at first base in Spring Training for a couple of reasons. First, there is a need. And secondly, Miami is stocked with outfield prospects, including Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick and Marcell Ozuna. Those three are expected to open in Double-A Jacksonville.
In terms of power potential, Jensen profiles at first base as well.
At Jacksonville last year, he belted 24 homers and drove in 84 runs. His batting average was just .234 and he struck out 162 times in 445 at-bats. But he added 21 doubles and had an OPS of .789.
What was really encouraging about Jensen was his impressive play in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .330 (30 for 91) in 23 games. Again, he displayed great power, belting five home runs and seven doubles, along with a triple.
The hope is Morrison, recovering from right knee surgery, will be ready for Opening Day, but that is not a given. And the Marlins are in a position where they want to measure exactly what they have in their Minor Leagues, not look for quick-fix free agents for the short term.
For Jensen, first base may wind up being his fastest path to the big leagues.
– Joe Frisaro