Originally posted on MarlinsBaseball.com  |  Last updated 12/21/11

The Miami Marlins have an outfield that seems to change every time it’s looked into.   There is one guarantee barring injury, in right field on Opening Day will be Mike Stanton.  Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess what happens between now and April.   Whether it be via trade or free agency, it is likely the outfield will remain in flux for the foreseeable future.

There has been speculation that the Marlins may look to trade Gaby Sanchez for pitching.  If the team was to do this, it is likely that Logan Morrison would shift back to first base.   There have also been rumors that teams are interested in Morrison himself for pitching help.  While not impossible, it’s highly unlikely the Marlins will opt to trade Morrison.   Should Sanchez or Morrison be traded however, this would create an opening left field.   Names that could possibly slide into left would be Bryan Petersen, Chris Coghlan or Emilio Bonifacio based on the present roster.    It’s also possible the Marlins would look to fill the position with someone currently outside of the organization.   If things got under way today, Morrison would clearly be in left field.

As far as Bonifacio goes, there are several options for the speedy player.  The Fish from all signs would like to see Bonifacio in the everyday lineup in 2012 and that could happen in either left field or center field.   It’s also possible that Bonifacio winds up not having an everyday spot in one position, but rather fills in around the field at nearly every spot which would still equate to significant playing time.    If the season was to start today, then it’d appear Bonifacio would be in center and would be batting second in the lineup behind Jose Reyes.

Coghlan and Petersen may wind up battling it out in Spring Training for a fourth outfield spot with Petersen seemingly having the leg up after a strong end to 2011.   Petersen can play all three outfield spots and offers the Marlins speed on the bases as well.  Coghlan struggled to recover from several injuries and spent the majority of the season in AAA while not on the disabled list last season.   As of now it’s likely Coghlan will be asked to head to New Orleans and get some at-bats before being considered for a Major League job.   However a superb Spring could change the Marlins’ thinking depending on the production of Petersen and others who possibly come into the mix such as Scott Cousins.

One wild-card in the outfield mix is Yoenis Cespedes, an outfield who defected from Cuba and is being sought after by the Marlins as well as several other organizations.  Cespedes has impressed scouts and the Marlins front office.  The team is expected to make a competitive offer once the outfielder is officially designated as a free agent by Major League Baseball.  Whether the Marlins can outbid big market teams such as the New York Yankees remains to be seen.   Should the Fish land the young outfielder, he would be slotted in as the starting center field.   Under that scenario, barring further moves it’d be likely Bonifacio would be relegated to a utility role with Morrison holding fort in left field.

The Marlins have had an exciting and busy off-season thus far, and plans for 2012 are from set in stone.  Following the New Year, the picture of the outfield and the team as a whole should begin to get a little clearer.

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