Marlins add outfielder Aaron Rowand on minor league contract

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With no financial incentives at stake, free agent Aaron Rowand could simply pick and choose from the situations he liked best this winter. On Monday, he made his commitment, signing a minor league deal to battle for playing time in the Marlins outfield.

Rowand hit .233/.274/.347 with four homers in 331 at-bats before being released by the Giants last season. The five-year, $60 million deal he signed with San Francisco still has one year left on it, so the Marlins will only be on the hook for the major league minimum if he makes the team.

The 34-year-old Rowand figures to battle Emilio Bonifacio and Chris Coghlan for playing time in center field. If he earns a spot, it will probably be as a fourth outfielder. Rowand still has an above average glove in center, but considering that he hasn’t been a good hitter since 2007 or an adequate one since 2009, he’s far from a lock to make a contribution in Miami.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.