The Miami Marlins were expected to be mostly quiet for the remainder of this offseason, but it seems the team found some budget room for a minor move to improve an area of perceived deficit. Initially, all signs pointed to the Fish dealing with their supposed bullpen problem by signing a veteran reliever in a market full of them, but instead Miami chose to spend some of its remaining dollars on a veteran platoon partner. According to CBSSports's Jon Heyman, the Marlins have come to terms to a deal with free agent infielder Jeff Baker.
Jeff Baker and marlins agree to 2-year deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 4, 2014
Chris Cotillo of SB Nation's own MLB Daily Dish has the scoop on the supposed two-year, $3.7 million deal.
Baker will earn $1.6 million in 2014 and $2.1 million in 2015, and can earn an additional $500K in each season with incentive clauses.
Baker spent last season with the Texas Rangers, with whom he hit an impressive .279/.360/.545 (.389 wOBA) while primarily playing first base. That looks like an impressive line, and indeed it was 43 percent better than the league average, even when taking Texas's inflationary effect. But the reason behind the strong line was that Texas protected him against right-handers, sending him 123 of 175 times to the plate versus left-handed pitching. Baker crushed lefties to a .314/.407/.667 line, while hitting just .204/.250/.286 versus righties.
At this point, it looks as though Baker will settle into a role as a platoon partner primarily for Garrett Jones. Previously, it was assumed Miami would allow Casey McGehee to platoon with Jones and allow Donovan Solano into the lineup versus lefties, but the Marlins decided to go with the veteran Baker instead. This may improve the offense slightly, but it probably hinders the team defensively.
Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more on this deal.