On this date, November 18, 2010, the Marlins signed free agent All-Star John Buck to be the team's starting catcher. At three years and $18 million, the deal was Florida's biggest free agent signing, both name-wise and money-wise, since the team inked first baseman Carlos Delgado before the 2005 season.
Originally drafted by the Astros, Buck went to the Royals in the three-team Carlos Beltran deal in 2004 (which wouldn't be the last big trade he would be a part of) and immediately became Kansas City's starting catcher as a rookie. Buck's play his rookie season set the tone for the rest of his career: solid defense with average offense for the catching position, albeit with above-average power. He put up a line of .235/.280/.424 and hit 12 home runs in just 71 games and 258 plate appearances in his rookie year.
Buck played five more seasons with the Royals and generally put up similar performances each year, setting a career high with 18 home runs in 2007. After Kansas City non-tendered him, Buck was picked up by the Blue Jays and answered with the best season of his career in 2010. He set a new career high with 20 home runs, and his line of .281/.314/.89 resulted in a career-best .802 OPS as well. On a one-year deal with Toronto and thus essentially auditioning for other teams, Buck picked a good time to have his first All-Star season. The Marlins were among several teams interested in signing the free agent going into 2011, as the catching combination of John Baker and Ronny Paulino that Florida had employed for the previous two seasons wouldn't be tenable for the near future; Baker underwent Tommy John surgery after injuring himself in May and Paulino was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. Thus, the Marlins made a rare dip into the free agent waters and were able to sign Buck. The catcher cited the lure of working with Florida's talented arms, led by Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Chris Volstad, as a reason he signed with the franchise.
After a typical Buck season in his first year as a Marlin, in which he OPSd .683 and hit 16 home runs, Buck had one of the worst offensive performances of his career in 2012 (though not by a large margin). His .192 batting average and .644 OPS were his worst marks to date, and his 12 home runs were his fewest since 2009.
After the 2012 season, the Marlins included Buck in the blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, sending him back to his old team. Toronto quickly flipped him to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey deal, and after a scorching start to the season in 2013, Buck regressed to his typical career performance. He ended up getting traded once more, this time to the Pirates in August, and is now a free agent.