Hooray, free agent activity...sort of. For the first time this offseason, the Marlins have added a new player to their organization—catcher Brian Navarreto announced Monday on his Instagram account that he has signed a minor league deal (no announcement from the club yet).
Celebrating his 25th birthday next month, Navarreto is a former sixth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins. He remained with the organization until a July 2019 trade to the Yankees and entered free agency after the season.
The Puerto Rican catcher has a poor offensive track record (career .214/.264/.307, 24 HR in 1,755 PA), stalling at the Double-A level the past couple years. But in 2017, Baseball America rated him as the top defender at his position in the Florida State League. He owns a terrific 45.2% caught stealing rate, though that dipped to a career-low 29.3% in 2019.
For what’s it worth, broadcasters who covered Navarreto with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos praised his strong clubhouse presence.
¡The Human Cannon!— Béisbol de Puerto Rico (@beisboldepr) July 24, 2019
Nuestro Brian Navarreto (@Brian_Navarreto) conectó su quinto home run de la temporada
Juega para los Pensacola Blue Wahoos (@BlueWahoosBBall), equipo Doble A de los Minnesota Twins (@Twins)
: MiLB / @alemariariv pic.twitter.com/j2ahx65ZYn
He happens to be represented by MDR Sports Management, the same agency used by Isan Díaz (and many other Puerto Rican baseball players).
Navarreto is highly likely to stick with the Marlins organization entering the 2020 MiLB season. Wilkin Castillo, Tyler Heineman, Bryan Holaday and Rodrigo Vigil are all free agents, leaving the Fish with plenty of innings that need to be caught for their top minor league affiliates in Jacksonville and Wichita.
Navarreto has been playing for Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League, compensating for time he missed with two stints on the injured list last summer. We will be monitoring his progress in future editions of our weekly Offseason Fish series.