The Miami Marlins are making progress on their renovations of the fences at Marlins Park which are expected to be in place for April.
After playing at the spacious park in Little Havana for four seasons, Miami officials decided it was time for some tweaks. All too often, balls looked gone off the bat before landing easily into an outfielder's waiting glove. Other times, Marlins outfielders such as Giancarlo Stanton would watch balls sail over the fence with no chance of robbing a home run.
"The lower fences will give you a chance to rob a home run," Christian Yelich told the Miami Herald. "Before there wasn't a chance because of how high the fences were."
Not only are the current fences at Marlins Park deep, but they are also tall. It takes a mighty cut to send one into the seats. For Stanton, that was rarely an issue as he hits mammoth blasts often. For others though like Yelich, Marlins Park has dented his career home run totals. Yelich has seen more than one deep fly-ball just miss the seats and end up at the warning track.
Moving the fences is no small task, and it comes with a price. According to Marlins' executive Claude Delorme, that cost will be roughly $500,000. The first game action for the new dimensions will come in exhibition games against the New York Yankees in April.
In terms of height changes, the fences will be as much as 4.5 feet shorter in some spots. As far as the distance goes, that will vary as well. In the right-center area where balls have gone to die, the fences will be about 11 feet closer.
The smaller dimensions should lead to a bit more offense, but the park could still play big. It is difficult to determine the full impact of the changes until the games begin.
"I think, especially for our players who play 81 [home] games, the combination of lowering the fences and bringing the fences in will be a positive change," Delorme added.
Besides field modifications, the Marlins have also been busy this off-season with roster changes and could still have more to go.