The Marlins are doing the right thing.
They’re doing what’s best for the franchise by doing what’s best developmentally for four players – Marcell Ozuna, Derek Dietrich, Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick – who well might be parts of the club’s long-term future.
Ozuna, an outfielder, and Dietrich, a second baseman, have been sent back to Class AA Jacksonville, where they were when injuries forced the Marlins to call them up to the bigs earlier than they should have been there. Yelich and Marisnick have been called up from the Suns.
The transactions were announced Monday after the Marlins won in Colorado.
The most important facet of the moves is that Miami now will undertake a serious study of Yelich and Marisnick, both outfielders, who are the first- and second-rated prospects in the system.
Yelich (bruised foot and abdominal strain) and Marisnick (broken hand) have dealt with injuries this season, but now appear ready to get considerable playing time for the Marlins in the closing two-plus months of the season.
“They’re both healthy, which we’ve been waiting for all year,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told reporters in Denver. “This is a good time to have them get experience.”
That’s it exactly.
The Marlins are far removed from playoff possibilities while staring at the prospect of losing 100 games this season, which is why the best thing they can do is get as meaningful a read as they can on Yelich and Marisnick.
Yelich, a left-handed hitter, batted .280 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 49 games with Jacksonville. Marisnick, a right-handed hitter, was at .294-12-46 in 67 games with the Suns.
“They’re both gifted. They both fit the frame. They have the stature of a big-leaguer,” Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett told me in May. “They could change the look of the (Miami) lineup.”
They’ll get the chance with the Marlins having just broken a 37-inning scoreless streak.
Beinfest, though, made it a point not to connect those scoring problems and the demotion of Ozuna and Dietrich.
“The offensive woes, I don’t want to be attributed to them,” Beinfest said. “That’s not why this is happening. I want that to be clear. I don’t want it construed in that manner at all. We rushed them here out of need. They did a great job for us.”
Ozuna and Dietrich started well before slumping.
Ozuna hit .265 with three homers and 32 RBIs in 70 games with the Marlins; Dietrich hit .214 with nine homers and 23 RBIs in 57 games.
“We asked a lot of them,” Beinfest said. “They’re part of our future.”
It’ll be a surprise if both Ozuna and Dietrich aren’t back with the Marlins when rosters expand in September.
But the crux of the matter involves Yelich, a first-round draft pick by Miami in 2010, and Marisnick, who was part of the package of players the Marlins got from Toronto in the off-season.
How significantly will they, in fact, change the look of Miami’s lineup?
Is a Yelich-Marisnick-Giancarlo Stanton configuration from left to right the club’s outfield of the immediate future and beyond?
The Marlins are National League dregs, and have nothing at stake save for trying to avoid that triple-digit number of defeats. It’s why this decision involving four young players is the right thing to do.
There’s nothing wrong with experimentation.
It’s the best way to gather pertinent information.
Ozuna and Dietrich will be well-served if they can stand out upon their return to Jacksonville, and the Marlins will be well-served by having the 21-year-old Yelich and the 22-year-old Marisnick in uniform for the 60-plus games remaining this season.
The Marlins’ primary goal now is to learn as much as they can about themselves, which means learning as much as they can about a couple of kids stamped with so much promise.