Just when Arizona is covered in snow, Spring Training has begun. Many Arizona State greats are getting ready for the new season, whether it’s with new roles or new teams.
One of those is Deven Marrero. The Miami native played close to his alma mater in Arizona for Diamondbacks last year but now has a chance to break camp with the hometown Marlins as a utility infielder.
“Deven is a guy that can play all over the field,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, “and I think that he’s another guy with huge versatility. Anywhere you put him on the infield, he’s going to be comfortable. So he’s a guy who will move around the field and get different looks, make sure he gets his at-bats offensively.”
Marrero was drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox but soon became someone who’s bat could not be relied on but had the glove to provide relief. 2017 was the most time he spent in the big leagues, hitting .211 with four home runs and 27 RBIs in 71 games for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox traded Marrero to the Diamondbacks for minor league left-handed pitcher Josh Taylor, who was born in Phoenix, just before the 2018 season. He played 49 games all over the infield slashing 167/.224/.205, which was close to his career .197/.250/.283 slash line, compiled over 343 plate appearances across parts of four seasons.
Mattingly and the Marlins, working towards fostering a developmental environment, believe they can tap his hitting potential.
“Hopefully we can help him to improve,” Mattingly said. “That’s probably been the thing that’s held him back as much as anything is he’s never got any kind of momentum offensively going. We’re going to try to see if we can help him with that.”
The odds to make the Opening Day roster are stacked against him. The Marlins already have three versatile infielders in Martin Prado, Miguel Rojas and Neil Walker. He's also going up against Yadiel Rivera, who had his role last year as a rookie despite not being any better as a hitter.