Dan Uggla turning down a four-year, $48 million contract extension led to Florida trading him to Atlanta, but after the swap the Marlins also talked about how the move allows them to improve defensively.
Uggla consistently ranked among the worst defensive second basemen in baseball, so replacing him with Omar Infante is a clear upgrade. However, the Marlins stated plan of using Chris Coghlan in center field could erase any defensive gains made in the infield.
Coghlan has never played an inning in center field as a professional, in the minors or majors, and has been exclusively a left fielder in two seasons with the Marlins. Ultimate Zone Rating pegs him as eight runs below average in 213 games as a left fielder and other defensive metrics are similarly underwhelmed with his glove.
Toss in the fact that he missed the final six weeks of the season following knee surgery that he’s still recovering from and … well, Coghlan in center field just seems like a bad idea even if Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said, “We feel good about Coghlan out there.”
Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.
Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.
Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.
A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.
The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:
- Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
- Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
- Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
- Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.
As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.
The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.
La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.