Be careful what you say on Twitter. You never know who might be reading. That's the lesson after bow-tied reporter Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said Thursday that the Florida Marlins needed to upgrade their outfield.
Rosenthal's communique, brought on partly by the Braves' recent signing of B.J. Upton and the Marlins' recent money motivated housecleaning, was kind of snarky, too. The Marlins, of course, wouldn't be interested in spending $75 million like Atlanta did after shedding the likes of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio.
Rosenthal's somewhat snarky tweet prompted a response — from Justin Ruggiano, Miami's incumbent center fielder:
Way to stick up for yourself, Justin! That's the way you have to be if you're a 25th-round draft pick from 2004 who just turned 30 and is still trying to establish himself in the majors. And, after playing in 805 games in the minors with the Dodgers, Rays and Astros, Ruggiano had a great breakthrough 2012 with the Fish:
.313/.374/.535 (jeepers) with 13 homers, 23 doubles and 14 stolen bases in 320 plate appearances. And he appeared to field well in center. Now, is that stat line going to be sustainable next season? History says no way, Jose. Regression is coming. But Bill James says Ruggiano can put up .278/.339/.456 with 19 homers and 24 stolen bases in 2013, and that would be a lot more valuable than what Emilio Bonifacio could have given the Marlins.
Now, there's no way Ruggiano is saying that the Marlins should just give him the center field job in 2013. But maybe he's saying it's his to lose, and that's fair enough (as long as he's recovered from a shoulder injury).
I just wish Ruggiano had started his tweet with, "uh, no we don't," in order to match Rosenthal's style. Oh, well. No other reason to return the snark. Stay polite. I credit the influence of the Rays, particularly manager Joe Maddon, who brought up Ruggiano for sips of coffee in 2007, '08 and '11. They wouldn't bring the guy up, and play him 98 combined games, if he wasn't able to add something to contending teams.
And what about Rosenthal? He seems like one of the nicer people in baseball, but he's also no dummy, so he responded kindly and the twitter conversation continued.
@ken_rosenthal I'll be watching. Love the show.
— Justin Ruggiano (@justinruggiano) November 29, 2012
"Love the show." Heh. "Love ya' suit," is more like it. But it was nice and somewhat ironic of Rosenthal to remind Ruggiano that he was speaking on the record.
Anyway, the best reason for the Marlins to give Ruggiano a real chance to play in 2013? He knows how to activate the franchise's most valuable asset:
Home Run Thingy, do your thingy!