For the Miami Marlins, the theme of the offseason heading into the 2014 season is improve the roster while spending as little as possible. Within the last few weeks, the organization has added veterans such as Garrett Jones and Rafael Furcal, both "low risk, high reward" type signings.
On Friday, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that the Marlins signed former Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin to a minor league contract, without an invitation to Spring Training.
Hearing Jordany Valdespin getting a Minor League deal, but it does not include Spring Training invite #Marlins Must earn way on team— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) December 20, 2013
As Frisaro noted, because of the lack of a Spring invite, Valdespin must show the team that he has changed. The outfielder was not liked in the Mets clubhouse and as a result, the 25-year old was non-tendered by New York.
Valdespin is expected to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans, and if he thrives, could lead to a possible major league promotion. He is a career .219 hitter with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in 160 games, and was more efficient in his first year in the league, posting a .241 average to complement eight home runs and 26 RBIs.
The fact that Valdespin didn't get an invite to Spring Training isn't surprising. The Marlins will likely break camp with Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna (or possibly Jake Marisnick), and Giancarlo Stanton as their starting outfielders. Brian Bogusevic, acquired from the Cubs for Justin Ruggiano, has a chance to make the squad as a fourth outfielder.
Valdespin served a 50 game suspension last season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and the Mets refused to bring him back at the league minimum. Newsday noted that Valdespin also consistently frustrated his teammates.
A polarizing figure in Queens, Valdespin seemed to infuriate his teammates as much as the opposition, and ultimately the Mets figured he was more trouble than his raw ability was worth.
When Valdespin threw a clubhouse tantrum in front of general manager Sandy Alderson after being notified of his demotion in early July, the team's patience was near its end.
The last straw came a month later when Valdespin received a 50-game suspension for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis, the Miami-based clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Valdespin also caused a minor conflict last offseason when he posted a picture of himself in a Miami Marlins hat.
It’s fitting that Valdespin will sign with New York’s division rivals. Last offseason, the left-handed hitter posted pictures of himself wearing a Marlins hat while still on the Mets. Predictably, the photos were not received well by many Mets fans.
Mets' General Manager Sandy Alderson even admitted to WFAN’s Mike Francesa, "I’m not telling you he’s the most popular guy in the clubhouse. That would be misleading."
Valdespin could have a great run at Triple-A and eventually become a candidate to be called up. For a team that was looking to add proven and experienced leaders to its clubhouse, signing Valdespin, even to a minor league contract is questionable given the squad's outfield depth.