CHICAGO -- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez spent a few minutes Monday discussing his team's defense -- or lack of it. The Marlins have committed 30 errors this season, tops in the majors.
Gonzalez said he would like for his team to be a top five defense in the National League. When asked about how his team could potentially become a top five defense, Gonzalez chuckled.
"I think that's a trick question," Gonzalez said. "You know the answer. You know the direction. Two years ago when Tampa Bay went to the World Series they went out and said we have to improve defense. They went and got [Evan] Longoria. They got [Jason] Bartlett. They moved [B.J.] Upton to center. Carlos Pena has always been a terrific defender. The Red Sox did the same thing. They talked about more defense. They went out and got [Adrian] Beltre, [Marco] Scutaro, [Mike] Cameron. Am I leaning you in the right direction now?"
Gonzalez said he doesn't have a problem with his players making "aggressive errors," It is the mental errors that eats at him.
"It's the careless errors that really drive you crazy," Gonzalez said. "If you go backhand in the hole, you try to make a play and throw it away, OK fine. It's the comebackers. It's getting late to cover first base that goes down as a basehit. Everytime that happens, I know [infield coach] Joe [Espada], [outfield coach] Dave Collins and myself, it feels like it takes a chunk out of your heart.
"You guys have been around. You see how much work we do. In four years we have not made the strides we've wanted to..."
Since winning the World Series in 2003, the Marlins have gotten progressively worse on defense. They've made at least 100 errors in each of their last five seasons and actually led baseball in errors in 2007. They finished tied for fifth last season with 106 errors, their best season under Gonzalez.
Last season, Gonzalez said former pitching coach Mark Wiley would chart errors and how many more pitches his pitchers would have to work. This season, Espada is keeping track of errors that hurt the team after the seventh inning and how it affects the game when the are either up a run or down a run.
"I think the mindset we've created here is to keep battling," Gonzalez said. "We've got seven guys who can run you out of the ballpark in a hurry. We can be down three and all of a sudden, single, double, bam we're back in the game... but it's not a good way to win games, it's slow pitch softball style."