It’s possible that the Miami Marlins will move Justin Ruggiano prior to the start of 2014, mostly due to the fact that they would like to hand the three outfield spots over to their future outfield group of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. While Ruggiano could stay on as a fourth outfielder, he would possibly be deemed by the team as too expensive for a bench role as the Marlins are working with a limited budget. However, Miami would be smart to find a way to fit his salary into its budget because he’s an insurance policy that they simply cannot afford to be without.
Consider the fact that Stanton and Ozuna both missed substantial time in 2013 due to injuries and the latter was also on his way to a demotion before injuring himself in his last game with Miami. That demotion was going to be due to a slump and as a move to avoid a possible loss of confidence for the prospect. With a guy like Ruggiano waiting in the wings, the Marlins would be able to turn to a player that they know can produce and that can also play all three outfield spots. It is unlikely that the three starting outfielders will go all season without an injury of some kind.
While it’s possible a Chris Coghlan or Jake Marisnick could fill in at that point, the Marlins would be better off with the likes of Ruggiano instead. Coghlan showed some flashes of his rookie campaign in 2013 but he remains an injury prone player that can’t be relied on. Marisnick is still very young but in his brief time in the big leagues in 2013 — he struggled mightily and in all likelihood, he will head back to the minors in 2014 for more seasoning.
Ruggiano did not have the best of seasons in 2013 which should keep his arbitration number down and possibly make him a more affordable bench player. It also greatly reduces any trade value he may have. Ruggiano could end up seeing a decent amount of playing time even if he doesn’t have a string of starts at some point. The Marlins need to find a way to make room for Ruggiano because he’s worth more to the team on the roster than he would be in any trade.