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.”
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.