Yelich, McGehee not options at first base

SAN DIEGO — If the Marlins acquire a speedster, they are open to moving Christian Yelich out of the leadoff spot. But don’t expect Miami to ask their Gold Glove-winning left fielder to change positions.

Because Yelich is athletic and he played a little first base in high school, there has been some buzz about moving the 23-year-old to first base.

The thinking is, Miami needs a power bat, and there are more choices who play corner outfield than first base. Atlanta’s Justin Upton is an example.

There were some rumors that Miami may trade for Upton to play left and switch Yelich to first. Before giving that idea much thought, let’s put the rumor to rest. No way is it happening.

First off, Yelich may have played some at first in youth baseball and as a prep star in Southern California. The reality is he didn’t play there enough to even seriously be considered a first base candidate, especially in the big leagues.

Secondly, Yelich just won the Gold Glove. He’s a rising star and deserves the respect to play where he is most comfortable.

Quite frankly, if Miami did approach Yelich about switching position, the conversation wouldn’t have been pretty. He doesn’t want to play first. End of story.

Besides, the Marlins feel they have the best outfield in the National League. They like Yelich in left, Marcell Ozuna in center and Giancarlo Stanton in right. All three are terrific defensively. Outfield is the strength of the club, and they aren’t going to risk making it a weakness.

There’s also been some talk about third baseman Casey McGehee perhaps moving to first if free agent Chase Headley signs.

Miami has limited interest in Headley. But the preference is for McGehee to stay at third. He’s been very strong there, and works nicely aside shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, a Gold Glove finalist.

Taking the stance Yelich will be in left and McGehee will remain at third makes it a little tricker to acquire a first baseman. Yet it is the path the team is taking.

Joe Frisaro

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