The Miami Marlins last season had the worst catching tandem in all of baseball. Jeff Mathis, Rob Brantly, Miguel Olivo, and Koyie Hill combined to hit for a lowly .192/.249/.280 slash line. The .235 wOBA and -1.8 WAR were the worst in baseball, by far.
For that reason, the Marlins are sifting through their free agent options for a potential upgrade for their catching position. Unfortunately, the best catcher Brian McCann seems to be well out of the Marlins price range and it would not surprise me if the same were to be true of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Beyond that, the names currently on the free agent market for catching are none too appealing and the trade market could be overpriced due to the lack of catching depth all around baseball.
So where does that leave the Marlins options?
Cuban catcher Yenier Bello was able to flee Cuba earlier this month and is expected to work out for big league teams on Nov. 5 in Tijuana, Mexico. The 28-year old is well known for the pop in his bat and a cannon arm behind the plate, but is unable to sign until he gets permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners are mentioned as teams that could show interest in the slugging catcher, but I don’t see why the Marlins would not have interest in adding a catcher with some pop.
Bello was suspended from the Cuban team last season when he was caught trying to flee the country. However, according to Cuban-Play.com, Bello slashed a .276/.324/.458 line with 82 home runs during his nine seasons (’03-11) in Cuba’s top league. He also threw out 50 percent (118 of 236) of the players that attempted a steal with him behind the plate.
Bello is not subject to the international signing rules, as he is at least 23 years old and has played three seasons professionally. No idea what kind of contract he’d demand, but this is a guy the Marlins should keep their eyes on.