The Miami Marlins, out of a need for catching depth following the injury to expected backup Jeff Mathis, signed former Marlin Miguel Olivo to a one-year deal worth $800 thousand.
Olivo deal with #Marlins $800K. Signed 45-day waiver. Fish can release him within that period and not owe him rest of salary.— Juan C. Rodriguez (@JCRMarlinsbeat) March 29, 2013
Olivo spent the last two seasons with the Seattle Mariners, and he hit .223/.248/.385 (.272 wOBA) during that time span. All of that is to say that Miguel Olivo is no longer a very good catcher, but for the Marlins, he does not have to be. The Fish are not expecting him to fulfill a significant role, but rather to steal away some plate appearances from starter Rob Brantly against left-handed pitchers. He was still awful in the last two years versus lefties (.273 and .281 wOBA in 2011 and 2012 respectively), but those are at least close to what Brantly is expected to produce this season.
The clause regarding the auto-release after 45 days is an interesting one indeed. As many on Twitter have pointed out, the Marlins can hold Olivo on the roster until Mathis returns from injury, at which point the Fish can void the contract and release him free of charge. It is an ingenious maneuver by the Marlins, but Olivo also has an incentive to do the deal. If he can convince someone that he has some value left after two terrible seasons in Seattle, he may be able to pick up a job at around the time the Marlins inevitably release him. But given that he will not be the starter in Miami, he will not have a long time to make that impression, so he has to play well whenever the team gives him a chance.
This seals the fate of former prospect and first-round draft pick Kyle Skipworth, who will be sent to the minors. Skipworth has been awful for years now, so this move is only a positive (albeit a slight one) on the field.