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Marlins considering options at third base after sending Matt Dominguez to minors

Mar 24, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

matt-dominguez-marlins-spring Getty Images

As recently as last week 21-year-old prospect Matt Dominguez was considered the favorite to make the jump from Double-A and claim the Marlins’ starting job at third base, but today they sent him to the minors.

Florida newspapers were full of praise for Dominguez when it looked like he’d get the job and his defense gets universally outstanding reviews, but his bat simply isn’t big-league ready. He hit just .252 with a modest .744 OPS in 138 games at Double-A last season, more or less equaling his career marks, and went just 8-for-42 (.190) this spring.

There’s little sense in rushing any 21-year-old prospect to the majors for a team that’s unlikely to contend anyway, and doing so with a guy whose offensive game still has plenty of rough edges makes even less sense. Credit the Marlins for realizing that, although by putting so many eggs in the Dominguez basket they’re left with some pretty unappealing fallback options at third base.

In fact, their choices are so ugly that Ken Rosenthal of speculated they might pursue 36-year-old Pedro Feliz, who’s currently in Royals camp and hit .218 with a ghastly .240 on-base percentage last year. In-house options include Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, Donnie Murphy, and Emilio Bonifacio. Florida is no doubt hoping that whoever starts at third base on Opening Day is only keeping the position warm for Dominguez, but he’s no sure thing to light up Triple-A pitchers and force his way back into their plans at age 21. The jury is still very much out on his bat.

  1. nps6724 - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    They should start All-Star Omar Infante at 3rd.

  2. rockiesmagicnumber - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    just pick Bonifacio. At least he’s fast or something.

  3. Old Gator - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    The current view of Dominguez is that he couldn’t hit a beachball with a cricket bat. BC may remember the Mutts shortstop, Rafael Santana, who romanced the Mendoza line for the ’86 championship team but was a good fielder and shored up an otherwise superlative infield of Hernandez, Backman (yes, that Backman) and Knight. Those monster Mutts could afford to carry a light bat like that. These floundering Feesh cannot if they want to finish ahead of the Gnats and the current age of iron iteration of the Mutts.

    Bonifacio overall is not ugly, really, or, as Cookie Monster might have put it, not bad but not delicious. He is quick on the basepaths and will probably hit in the .250-.260 range. With Coghlan not likely to be a top-of-the-order threat, the Feesh can use Bonifacio somewhere in the 1-2 slot and let Coghlan start the season further down in the order, where having guys on base ahead of him might reduce his temptation to run too much early on and sproinnngggg his knee again.

    I’m a big fan of Kindly Uncle Wes – but not at third. Especially not when the Feesh have just rid themselves of Jorge Cant’tdo and his hit-the-woman-with-the-ice-cream-cone-three-rows-behind-and-left-of-first pegs. Not out on the field much of anyplace. I think it’s time to start grooming him for manager-of-the-future. He’s a burnout off the bench.

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