12/10/12 11:55 AM ET
Redmond wants Marlins to force issue on offense
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Besides Giancarlo Stanton, Miami's lineup lacks power. So rather than emphasize the long ball, close attention will be paid to the little things. Basically, the Marlins will rely heavily on small-ball tactics -- bunting, utilizing the hit and run and timely hitting.
"We're going to have to grind out at-bats and get guys on base," first-year manager Mike Redmond said. "We're going to have to bunt. We're going to have to hit and run. We're going to have to do a lot of things."
Ideally, the Marlins would like to add some more power around Stanton. There aren't tremendous bargains on the market, and the legitimate proven players are costly. To make up for the lack of threats up and down the order, Redmond's strategy will be to apply pressure in different ways.
"I was aggressive when I was in the Minor Leagues, and we're going to be aggressive in the big leagues," the 41-year-old manager said. "We have to be."
The change in approach comes in the aftermath of a dismal 2012 season. The Marlins (69-93) finished in last place in the National League East. For all the disappointments the squad had in its first year at Marlins Park, perhaps the most discouraging aspect was a lack of offense.
Former manager Ozzie Guillen repeatedly said the team's inability to hit with runners in scoring position was the biggest reason for the last-place finish. The Marlins pushed across just 609 runs, which ranked second to last in the NL behind Houston's 583. Miami belted 137 home runs, with 37 coming off the bat of Stanton.
Spacious Marlins Park, with so much room in the gaps, should be a natural to produce a ton of extra-base hits. But the Marlins only had 261 doubles last year, 14th out of 16 teams in the NL. Of that total, 129 were hit in Miami, which ranked 12th among teams while playing at home.
After several major trades, Miami's everyday lineup still isn't set.
Trading Yunel Escobar to the Rays last week created an opening at third base. The Marlins are seeking low-cost free-agent options. Ideally, management would like to add a power threat at third base.
From a financial standpoint, they're basically reinvesting the $5 million that would have gone to Escobar to find someone to fill the hot corner. If they can't find someone at third, the money will be allocated to other areas of the club.
About the only two set spots in the order are leadoff and cleanup. Juan Pierre, who will play left field, is projected to lead off. And Stanton is expected to bat cleanup.
As for the rest of the order, Redmond already is weighing a number of options. One idea Redmond is kicking around is batting Logan Morrison fifth.
"He's an option to hit behind Stanton," Redmond said. "We're definitely going to need somebody to hit behind him. But more importantly, we're going to have to try to get guys on base in front of him and get him those opportunities to drive those runs in."
Behind Morrison could be Rob Brantly, another left-handed bat. Donovan Solano or Adeiny Hechavarria are possibilities to hit second. There are plenty of combinations Redmond is considering.
In another scenario, Morrison also could find himself batting third, and behind Stanton could be Brantly or Justin Ruggiano.
"I could give you 50 different lineup scenarios right now, and that could change the first game of Spring Training," Redmond said.
More than just toying with ideas and moving pieces around, the Marlins are mostly looking to change their level of production. They ranked 12th in the NL in batting average with runners in scoring position (.234) during 2012.
There will be plenty of combinations of players Redmond will work with. Foremost, he must see what he has when Spring Training gets under way.
"I'm excited to get out there and get a chance to see these guys play and see what we've got and see where they best fit," Redmond said.