After dealing Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich this offseason, the Marlins’ outfield situation is up in the air as they gear up for the 2018 season. Club manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that veteran infielder/outfielder Derek Dietrich is “penciled in” as the starting left fielder, though no other decisions regarding the outfield appear to have been made yet.
Dietrich, 28, agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal to avoid arbitration with the Marlins last month. This will be his sixth consecutive season with the club, and just the second in which he’s expected to get the bulk of his starts in the outfield. He racked up a career-high 103 starts at third base in 2017 and slashed .249/.334/.424 with 13 home runs in 464 plate appearances.
While the rest of the outfield is “wide open,” per Mattingly’s comments, there are any number of rookie outfielders who will get the opportunity to make a favorable impression in camp. Center field prospect Lewis Brinson has just 16 major league games under his belt, but impressed in Triple-A Colorado Springs last year and has the versatility to play all three outfield positions. Magneuris Sierra and Braxton Lee could also fill in center and right field, respectively; Sierra has the proven speed and defensive chops needed for a full-time role in the outfield, while Lee showed promise after breakout performances in Double-A Montgomery and Jacksonville.