When the oh-so-smart Marlins traded arbitration-eligible players
Beside the obvious benefit of extricating themselves from two arbitration cases they didn't need or want, the Marlins received three younger players in the deal, including speedy infielder
But the Marlins knew better. And now, a week into his Marlins career, Bonifacio, who moves faster on the diamond than anyone in baseball, has moved up in everyone else's eyes. Those outside the Marlins organization once again view the 23-year-old as an exciting young player after watching him ignite the Marlins offense with a .500 batting average, exhibit the best baseball speed since
The Marlins' scouts seem to know things others do not, so they figured it might be worthwhile to give Bonifacio, primarily a second baseman, a look at third base. So far the slap-hitting speed demon has looked like a star at a position normally reserved for power hitters. Bonifacio put together multiple-hit efforts in the Marlins' first five games of the season and produced enough theatrics to excite even the minimal crowds they draw down here.
His legs, not his bat, will make Bonifacio, but if he can make consistent contact he'll be dangerous. Scouts say he's an 80 runner (on their 20-to-80 scale), and viewers could see why during his Opening Day inside-the-park home run against his former Nationals mates, during a triple in Game 2 and then again on an infield hit that caused fellow speedster
"It's a different feel for us," Beinfest said. "It's a different way to try to manufacture runs from a year ago, when we relied on the home run." The big game-changing twist came when the Marlins inserted Bonifacio, moved power-hitting
If Bonifacio's bat has been a revelation, his glovework has been no less so. "Our [scouts] thought he had enough arm for shortstop [when they acquired him], so they thought they'd take a look at third," Beinfest said. But there's a big difference between having the arm and playing the vastly different angles at third, and early in spring there were questions about whether Bonifacio would be able to make a smooth switch from second. (Some Marlins people believe the team would be better off with Bonifacio at second instead of power-hitting star
But Bonifacio looks fine at third, and he has helped make the Marlins a speedier, slightly better-fielding team than a year ago, when they surprised folks by winning 84 games despite ranking 15th in the NL in fielding percentage. Florida also trots out an impressive quintet of under-27 starters this season, beginning with superb talents
That's true, even though, as always, the club made all its changes with the bottom line in mind. Beinfest delicately summed up the trade with Washington by saying, "We needed to reallocate our assets." In addition to Bonifacio the Marlins acquired two low-level minor leaguers in the deal, second baseman
While the Nats deal with those players and their impending arbitration cases, the Marlins continue to maintain a payroll that, while up to $35 million this year from an absurd $24 million last year, is surely well below their revenues. (While Beinfest doesn't complain, their revenue-sharing monies alone should support a greater payroll than $35 million.)
With the Marlins, however, it's never worth looking at the payroll. No matter what they spend, they think they can compete. And by landing players like Bonifacio, they usually do.
What's going on with all the aces?
The most valuable commodity in baseball is a star starting pitcher. But so far the stars have stunk. At least many of them have.
The following Nos.1 and 2 starters have also pitched very poorly, though perhaps not quite as poorly as Cook, Hamels and Wang:
A couple folks inside the Yankees' clubhouse say they believe that
• The Giants and Lincecum aren't ruling out in-season contract talks, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence that the Giants are close to locking up Lincecum, who'll want to beat Hamels' $20.5 million deal to cover his three arbitration years.
• Diamondbacks people don't think
• Two more comeback pitchers to watch could be
• The Angels are one of baseball's best organizations, top to bottom, and they deserve credit for the very nice tribute they gave
• If anything good comes from the killing of Adenhart and his two friends, perhaps it's that young players will understand that it's sheer stupidity to drive drunk, as the idiot who's charged with plowing into Adenhart's car allegedly did. This is a far bigger problem in the NFL, but pro athletes can afford to hire taxis. There's no excuse.
• Good for
• It would be nice if the Mets were opening their Ebbets Field-inspired Citi Field by playing the Dodgers instead of the Padres on Monday night. Though I'm just glad that