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Marlins sign Chris Parmelee to minor league deal

Following a string of injuries, the Marlins purchase insurance for first base

MLB: Oakland Athletics-Media Day
Chris Parmelee brings a lefty bat and an 75 grade mustache to the Marlins organization
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Marlins picked up journeyman first baseman Chris Parmelee to buttress their diminished depth at first base. After placing regular first baseman Justin Bour on the disabled list on Tuesday, along with shortstop JT Riddle, the Marlins had to dig into their AAA roster to fill the gaps, calling up shortstop Mike Aviles and catcher Tomas Telís.

Parmelee’s most recent foray at the Major League level came in just six games with the New York Yankees in 2016. After not recording a hit in his first four games, Parmelee had a two-home run game before returning to the disabled list two days later with a hamstring injury. This year, Parmelee accrued a line of just .199/.281/.353 with a wRC+ of 61 in 42 games with the Oakland A’s’ Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds before being released.

The move comes in the wake of Justin Bour’s injury. After sustaining an oblique injury, Bour was sent to the disabled list, and with budding prospect Matt Juengel also on the DL, catcher-by-trade Tomas Telís was selected to share the first base duties with Tyler Moore.

The move gives the Marlins a readily available lefty batter to man first base. Although the regular backup Tyler Moore has actually been a reverse splits hitter — sporting a .381 weighted on base average and a 134 wRC+ against righties — the lefty Parmelee can be called upon to hit against righty pitchers if the Marlins perceive such an advantage apparent. Although Derek Dietrich also has first base capabilities, he is preoccupied at the moment filling in for Martin Prado at the hot corner.

Between trading players and losing players to fluky injuries, the Marlins have become increasingly thin as of late. Although the Marlins farm system is currently quite bottom heavy, there exists intriguing prospects in Triple-A that may get their Major League cups o’ coffee before September roster expansion in light of the injury bug.

Brian Anderson, the #3 prospect in the Marlins system, recently broke onto the scene in the MLB Futures Game during All-Star Weekend, where he went 2-4 with a double. Having recorded a line of .251/.341/.450 with a wRC+ of 129, Anderson was recently called up to Triple-A, and has not missed a beat in ten games. Food for thought: if the Fish wanted to give Brian Anderson some low-leverage spots to see big league pitching, they could call him up and let him play third base while sliding Dietrich across the diamond to first.

Austin Nola is another interesting case currently playing in New Orleans. A versatile middle-infielder who took on catching at the outset of the season in order to increase his playing time, although Nola has scuffled in his first 11 games in Triple-A, his career numbers suggest that he should straighten out after adjusting to the pitching. With rumors of players like Dee Gordon and AJ Ellis, keep an eye out for Nola to potentially fill the void.

Ultimately however, in addition to Mike Aviles, veteran infielders Christian Colon and Steve Lombardozzi are currently playing for New Orleans, and offer other, safer options as replacement infielders. While the younger guys get their reps against Triple-A pitching, Colon, Lombo, and Parmelee are more likely to get the call in the event that any other players disappear.

With Parmelee on the way to The Big Easy, outfielder Cal Towey manned first base for the Baby Cakes on Wednesday night. If Parmelee proves himself at Triple-A, having recorded approximately 993 more innings at first base than Telís, look for him to make the big league club while The Great Bourbino is sidelined.