Well, that didn’t take long. Despite the flukiest hot start baseball has seen since Tuffy Rhodes, it looks like the Emilio Bonifacio era may be coming to an end in Florida. The Marlins have recalled top prospect Chris Coghlan from Triple-A, where he was hitting .348/.425/.565 with a 12/10 BB/K ratio to go along with 12 extra base hits. The power was the nice surprise so far, as no one questions his ability to handle the bat and control the strike zone. He’s not the greatest athlete in the world, but he’s a baseball player. He’s essentially the anti-Bonifacio.
Early reports say Coghlan will see time in both the outfield and at second base (his natural position), giving the team a chance to give the slumping Dan Uggla a day or two off. However, there’s just no reason to keep a scrub like Bonifacio on the field when you have a talent like Coghlan ready to play everyday. He’s played 42 games at third base in the minors, including 11 there this season.
Thanks to their 11-1 start, the Marlins are still semi-competitive in the NL East despite the fact that their offense has fallen apart. Hanley Ramirez could use some help, and Coghlan is the kind of player who could give the team some legitimate offense from a position where that is sorely lacking. There’s just no reason why Coghlan shouldn’t get the majority of playing time at the hot corner. Even if the Marlins fall out of the race, Coghlan is a part of their future, while Bonifacio is not.
How he distributes the playing time at third base will be something of a litmus test for manager Fredi Gonzalez. The sooner he puts Bonifacio on the bench the better, and hopefully it’s permanent this time.