JUPITER, Fla. — It’s the most compelling and pretty much the only battle for a starting job among position players at Marlins camp.
And whoever the team picks between rookie Jazz Chisholm and Isan Diaz to be their starting second baseman could be telling about the club’s future at the position.
Barring injuries, the Marlins are likely to keep only one on the major-league roster and send the other to Jacksonville to open the season in Triple-A.
Veteran Jon Berti also figures into the competition and is virtually guaranteed a roster spot, but he is likely headed for more of a utility role thanks to his ability to play shortstop as well as in the outfield.
“Jazz and Isan, that’ll be interesting there at second base,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We kind of have to see where that one goes. Jazz obviously is a guy that is exciting and fun to watch. Isan’s a guy that had a rough year last year medically and with some things off the field. It’s going to be up in the air.”
Chisholm said Thursday he isn’t approaching spring training worried about who wins the job at second.
Diaz mentioned getting better as a motivator as well.
But Diaz said he was trying to win a job a year after he was limited to only seven games and 22 at-bats first after opting out because of COVID-19 concerns after the team’s outbreak early in the season and later due to a left groin strain that ended his season on Sept. 14.
“My mindset has always been the same,” Diaz said. “Always trying to win a job, always trying to go and compete. It was a tough year. Lots of decisions were made. We make them based on how we feel and what’s going on. … We keep learning from decisions we made and how to strive forward and get better.”
Chisholm, who turned 23 on Feb. 1, is the Marlins No. 4 ranked prospect overall by Baseball America — as a shortstop.