Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pic of the Week

Life's a beach as Joe Benson chases a ball toward
a real estate ad on an outfield fence in Jupiter, Fla.

I might not have selected this photo had it been somebody other than Joe Benson, once a highly-regarded Twins prospect. That it is Benson gives me a reason to talk about him.

Benson's in the Miami Marlins' camp as a non-roster invitee. My take on the Marlins at this point is that it's a franchise one signs up with when there are no other alternatives.

To be fair, Benson (and his agent) may have figured the outfield situation with the Marlins is fluid enough for him to have a shot at making the roster. There's Giancarlo Stanton, who's established as a top flight power hitter; there's Christian Yelich, who's a well-regarded prospect (better regarded than Benson was at the same age); and not a heck of a lot else to get excited about. And given that Stanton is starting to get expensive, and has been critical of Marlins management, he might not be around all year.

But Benson's career is in trouble. The Twins cut him loose last summer with a slash line of .192/.256/.285 in Triple A. The Rangers picked him up and sent him to Double A; .205/.293/.394. The Rangers let him walk this winter and he signed with the Marlins. He's 26 now; time is slipping from him.

His first 11 spring training plate appearances with the Fish: 0-for-11. Small sample size, to be sure, but still ... that's not a good impression he's making.

Benson appears to be an example of the difference between an athlete, which he definitely is, and a major league baseball player.

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