Miami has had luck with minor league free agents in the past, and is hoping for some of the same after signing outfielder Cole Gillespie and pitcher Chris Narveson to minor league contracts. The pair will have the opportunity to win roster spots in Spring Training, and joins James Leverton and Reid Brignac as veteran players the Marlins signed to minor league deals this offseason.
In Narveson, the Marlins added a veteran left-handed arm who might have a chance at winning a rotation or bullpen spot. He has made 63 starts in his major league career, and boasts a career 4.65 ERA and 4.18 FIP in 396.2 total innings. Narveson has spent most of his major league career with the Brewers, and has posted 150 walks and 326 strikeouts over that span. As Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel notes, he has been particularly effective against left-handed hitters, which likely made him attractive to the Marlins.
The Cardinals’ second-round pick in 2000 out of T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, N.C., Narveson has held left-handed hitters to a .231/.320/.342 slash line in 387 plate appearances.
Just as Casey McGehee did before the Marlins signed him, Narveson spent the 2014 season in Japan. He went 4-11 with a 4.53 ERA, but has proven to be durable and continued to be last season, tossing 137 innings for a Yakult Swallows squad that finished the season 21 games under five hundred. The Marlins are looking for balance within their rotation, but even if Narveson doesn't win a starting job, he would likely be a valuable asset coming out of the bullpen or can give Miami depth as the season progresses.
While Narveson spent last season in Japan, Gillespie saw time in 35 major league games, almost all of which came with the Seattle Mariners. He posted a .243/.300/.311 to complement one home run and five RBIs, and could be a candidate to win a spot on Manager Mike Redmond's bench as a fourth outfielder.
Gillespie is versatile in that he has major league experience in left, center, and right field, although with a career .230 average, it will likely have to take a solid spring to win a roster spot.