The club has also signed veteran outfielder J.B. Shuck to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, per Joe Frisaro:
Some minor deals have been reached. @Marlins have come to terms with OF J.B. Shuck and INF Yadiel Rivera on Minor League contracts with invites to Spring Training.— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) November 24, 2017
Shuck first broke into the majors with the Houston Astros back in 2011. His best season came in 2013 with the Los Angeles Angeles Angels of Anaheim, where he slashed .293/.331/.366 with two home runs and 39 RBI, in 478 plate appearances. After playing 2015 and 2016 with the Chicago White Sox, Shuck spent all of last season in the Minnesota Twins AAA club. With Ichiro’s departure (and theoretical impending turnover in the outfield), he has a non-zero shot of opening the season with the ball club next season as the team’s primary outfield back-up.
The first signing of note is in the books for the Miami Marlins and it’s only fitting for a Derek Jeter-led front office that the move involved a shortstop.
Financial terms of said deal are not clear at this time, but it would appear to be a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, since corresponding room has not been made on the 40-man roster.
Yadiel Rivera is a 25-year-old utility infielder who is known more for his glovework then for his bat. He was a ninth round pick in the 2010 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and has appeared in a small amount of games for the Brew Crew in each of the past three seasons before being waived off of their 40-man roster this past September.
His claim to fame up to this point is having logged the fastest throw (according to Statcast) from third to first base in 2016, nabbing a hustling Jose Altuve (not sure who that is, but I’m told he’s fast).
This is a solid depth move for the Marlins. In the event that Dee Gordon and/or Martin Prado are indeed traded, Derek Dietrich and Brian Anderson figure to get the first crack at second and third base, respectively, while JT Riddle and Miguel Rojas battle it out for time at short. You may recall that both Riddle and Rojas were sidelined for parts of last year; if that occurs again, it will be nice to have a guy in Rivera who can step in and, at a minimum, provide excellent defense for however long it’s needed.
Maybe the Marlins see more then I do here and they expect Rivera to insert himself as a legitimate contender for the starting shortstop gig. Let’s keep it real: the incumbent(s) aren’t exactly expected to set the world on fire offensively. Correctly assessing that fluid situation may have provided the appropriate amount of appeal in Rivera’s decision to join the Marlins organization.