Redmond lays out potential plan for Marlins' lineup
Manager says Furcal to lead off, fellow acquisitions Jones, Salty cleanup options
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the roster shapes up, so does the makings of the Marlins' batting order.
Manager Mike Redmond on Wednesday afternoon shed some light on how he intends to fill out his lineup card. Adding free agents Rafael Furcal, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones revamps a lineup that ranked last in the Majors in 2013 in runs scored, home runs and batting average.
"Going into the offseason, we got together as an organization and talked about ways that we could better improve our team and our lineup," Redmond said. "Saltalamacchia was the first step, and then bringing in Furcal and now Garrett Jones has definitely given us more offense, more weapons, and extended our lineup."
If Spring Training opened tomorrow, Redmond said Furcal would lead off, followed by Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton.
"Then we can either go Garrett Jones or Salty in there in the four-hole, or do a lefty-righty [matchup], however we want to make it."
So the fourth, fifth, sixth slots could be the left-handed-hitting Saltalamacchia, righty Marcell Ozuna and lefty Jones.
"So we have some options," Redmond said. "Probably that is something that we'll play around with."
Still unanswered is third base, a position the organization is actively looking to fill either through trade or free agency.
For now, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and the third base slots will be at the bottom of the order, before the pitcher.
Furcal promises to be an important piece to a young team. The 36-year-old missed all of last year due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. After spending the past few seasons with the Cardinals, the veteran has agreed to switch from shortstop to second base in Miami.
Furcal has played 14 seasons, and he's reached the playoffs 12 times. His primary spot in the order has been leadoff, where he has appeared in 1,382 games. At the top of the order, he's a .284 lifetime hitter with 989 runs scored.
Redmond had his media session on Wednesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.
The Miami manager, in his second year directing the club, added that he intends to give the left-handed-hitting Jones opportunities to face lefty pitching. With the Pirates last season, Jones was used in a platoon situation, as he batted .095 (2-for-21) against lefties. And he's hit southpaws at a career .193 clip.
Redmond pointed out that a few years ago, Jones fared better against lefties. In 2010, for instance, his lefty split was .220 (47-for-214).
"You look at his numbers in the past ... he has been successful," Redmond said. "So I think initially, my thoughts are he can play every single day."
The Marlins are making it clear they are building around Stanton, their 24-year-old slugger who possesses some of the top power in the game. Still, Stanton struggled with injuries, and his 2013 performance was subpar by his standards. He batted .249 with 24 homers and 62 RBIs.
With some veterans with playoff experience around him, the Marlins are anticipating a bounce-back season from Stanton.
"We just want him to relax," Redmond said. "Last year, I think he probably felt like he needed to do it all offensively. As a former player, whenever you feel like you have to do that, that's not ... it usually doesn't end up good. I think for him to be successful, we just want him to go out there and just have fun and play his game.
"He's so talented. He means so much to our lineup and to our organization. We just want him to go out there and just do his part with no pressure. With the additions to our lineup and our team, it should be easy for him this year."