The Marlins search for reserve outfielder options continues, and MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that a couple new names might be in the mix.
"The organization is pretty much exploring several left-handed hitters to handle backup outfield and pinch-hit roles. Andy Dirks, non-tendered by Detroit, and Will Venable of the Padres, in his final season of arbitration, also have drawn attention."
Dirks is currently a free agent after the Tigers cut him loose, and Venable is still under contract but is owed a reasonable $4.25 million by the Padres in 2015. Both are left handed hitters and throwers, which the Marlins could definitely use in pinch hitting roles and to give one of their starting outfielders the occasional day off.
Dirks did not play in MLB in 2014, but hit .256/.323/.363 with nine home runs and 37 RBI in 2013. He turns 29 later this month and can play all three outfield positions.
Venable, 32, has played all the outfield spots as well as first base in his seven year big league tenure, all with the Padres. He owns a career .252/.316/.414 line but 2014 was the worst year of his career, as he managed just a .613 OPS and eight homers in 448 PA.
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Perhaps the Marlins could strike a deal with the Padres for Venable’s services in exchange for a regressing veteran of their own? Dan Haren wants to be traded to a west coast team, in case you haven’t heard.
Internally, the team could give non-roster invitees Cole Gillespie and Kenny Wilson a look in Spring Training. They still have Jordany Valdespin who can play all over the field, but he’s not on the 40-man roster. Marlins newcomers Martin Prado and Michael Morse can also play corner outfield positions, so Mike Redmond will have the flexibility to get creative.
At the end of his blog, Frisaro provides some hope to those of us eager to see the Marlins roster take shape:
"We’ll likely get more clarity on the fourth outfield situation in the next week or two."