They haven’t fired their manager (yet), but the Marlins made a surprising move today by demoting Opening Day center fielder and former Rookie of the Year winner Chris Coghlan to Triple-A.
Coghlan was asked to switch to center field this season after previously never playing the position as a pro and has fared relatively well there, but he hit just .230 with five homers in 65 games, as his OPS has dropped from .850 as a rookie to .718 last season and now .668 this year.
Making the move even more surprising is that the Marlins called up journeyman DeWayne Wise from Triple-A to take Coghlan’s roster spot and compete with Emilio Bonifacio to replace him in center field.
Wise signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins last week after the Blue Jays agreed to let him go despite a .338 batting average at Triple-A, but he’s a 33-year-old career .222 hitter with a .642 OPS in 376 games in the majors. In other words, for as bad as Coghlan has been this season he’s still out-produced Wise’s career numbers. Bonifacio has similarly terrible career numbers, although he’s been more productive this year.
Losing 14 of 15 games tends to convince a team they need to do something, but this move certainly doesn’t make the Marlins any better.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.