Improving the Florida Marlins defensively was on Larry Beinfest's ''to do'' list this offseason. With time ticking down to the start of spring training, Beinfest isn't sure that he and his staff have accomplished that goal.
''I'll just shoot with you straight,'' Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, said Monday at a media luncheon. 'It's a question we have asked ourselves — `Have we done enough?' ''
If not, it could be another frustrating season for Marlins pitchers, who have watched sure outs turn into runs because of one of the worst-fielding clubs in the majors in each of the past three seasons. Since 2006, the Marlins have committed more errors than anyone.
The Marlins should notice some improvement at first base no matter who ends up taking over at that position for Mike Jacobs, who was traded in November. Jacobs was error-prone and lacked range, ranking as one of the poorest fielding first basemen around.
Rookie Gaby Sanchez will get first shot at the job. Based on his minor-league statistics, Sanchez is about average defensively. The Marlins also expect improvement in the outfield, where the speedy Cameron Maybin is primed to take up residence in center.
''We think [Maybin's] speed in center field will help the corner guys,'' Beinfest said. Manager Fredi Gonzalez also plans to move Jeremy Hermida from right field to left, replacing Josh Willingham, and start Cody Ross regularly in right.