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 infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.