Looks like Infante will man 2nd and Dominguez/Helms/Bonifacio will handle the hot corner. If Dominguez is not ready, why not just put Bonifacio at CF and Coghlan at 3rd? I guess they want to give Coghlan as much prep in center as possible. Still, not the biggest fan of this. Thoughts?
Marlins confident Coghlan can man center
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com | 12/03/10 2:55 PM EST
MIAMI -- On short notice, Chris Coghlan proved in 2009 that he could adapt to left field. He went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award that season.
The Marlins are confident that Coghlan can now make a similar adjustment to center field.
After trading Cameron Maybin to the Padres a few weeks ago, Florida informed Coghlan that he would be switched to center field.
The decision to play the 25-year-old in center came several months after the Marlins had asked him to move from the outfield to third base. The fact that Coghlan has never played a game at the professional level in center field raises questions about whether the club is setting itself up for another move.
President of baseball operations Admin Beinfest said on Friday that isn't the case.
"We like Chris Coghlan. We like him in this lineup," Beinfest said. "The way he adapted to left field -- he developed into a pretty good left fielder in a short period of time. We feel he can do that in center field. As long as the knee is healthy, and there is no reason to believe it is not going to be, he has good instincts on the baseball field. We think he's going to be a good center fielder."
Coghlan is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. His recovery is on track, and he is expected to be at full strength when Spring Training opens.
The Marlins have already had an active offseason, which is one reason why they aren't expected to make a big splash at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., beginning Monday.
"I know there is going to be some speculation about center field," Beinfest said. "But when we made the move for Cameron, we had already had that internal discussion. We thought Chris could handle center field."
A natural infielder, Coghlan had been bracing to move to third base since Jorge Cantu was traded to the Rangers in July. But Coghlan suffered his meniscus tear and missed the rest of the season.
Beinfest didn't rule out the possibility of Coghlan someday returning to the infield, but the organization clearly wants his focus to be strictly on center.
"We don't want to play pinball with Chris," Beinfest said. "He's an important part of this team. I don't think anybody wants to be bounced around. I explained that to him when I spoke to him. I said, 'You're not going to get a call from me every couple of months with a new idea.'
"That's part of the attraction of Chris as a player, though. He has versatility. We know he can play second, we know he can play third. We know he can play left field. We have a very good feeling that he can play center field. Those are all good attributes."
The knee injury limited Coghlan to 91 games this past season, and he batted .268. In left field, he had a .994 fielding percentage and seven assists.
With Coghlan projected in center field, the Marlins are giving prospect Matt Dominguez every chance to win the third-base job. Defensively, Dominguez draws comparisons to Mike Lowell with the way he handles the position.
How he adapts to big league pitching is the question. At Jacksonville, Dominguez batted .252 with 14 homers and 81 RBIs.
If Dominguez isn't considered ready, the Marlins may consider going with Wes Helms or Emilio Bonifacio at third base. Another possibility, Beinfest said, is Omar Infante, who right now is projected at second base.
There could be a scenario where Bonifacio plays second base and Infante plays third.
"Matt Dominguez will come in and complete," Beinfest said. "Wes Helms can play over there. If it works out that [infante] is at third, and Bonifacio is at second, and that's our best club at the start of the year, so be it.
"We have some people who can move around and help us defensively improve the club."]