Marlins Outright Christian Bethancourt – MLB Trade Rumors

Marlins Outright Christian Bethancourt – MLB Trade Rumors

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Marlins catcher Christian Bethancourt went unclaimed on waivers following his recent DFA and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Jacksonville, per the team’s transaction log at MLB.com. As a player with more than three years of big league service, he has the right to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. However, Bethancourt is at 4.129 years of service, placing him 43 days shy of the five full years he’d need to elect free agency and retain the remainder of this season’s $2.05MM salary. Since he’d have to forfeit the remainder of that salary in order to elect free agency, he’ll surely accept it and report to Jacksonville.

First-year Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix was the Rays’ general manager when Tampa Bay acquired Bethancourt from the A’s, and in one of his first moves after being hired as Miami’s president of baseball ops, he brought Bethancourt to the Marlins in a cash swap with the Guardians, who’d previously claimed the catcher off waivers from the Rays.

The trade didn’t go as hoped, clearly. Bethancourt opened the season mired in a disastrous slump as the Fish received staggeringly poor production from their catching corps early on. By the time he was designated for assignment in favor of journeyman Ali Sanchez, he’d only managed to pull his batting line up to .159/.198/.268 in 88 plate appearances.

At one point, Bethancourt ranked among the game’s top catching prospects, but he’s fallen into journeyman status and at one point entirely moved on from catching in favor of outfield/infield work and even (more briefly) relief pitching. He spent the 2019 season in the KBO, didn’t play during the 2020 season, and bounced around the league in a more traditional catcher/first baseman role since 2021. That includes a 2022 season split between Oakland and Tampa Bay where he slashed a respectable .252/.283/.409 with a career-high 11 homers, but Bethancourt has been unable to replicate even that modest production since that time.

A career .292/.329/.468 hitter in parts of seven Triple-A seasons, Bethancourt will stick with the Marlins organization and provide some additional depth behind Nick Fortes and Sanchez. If either is injured and/or if Bethancourt gets his bat going in Jacksonville, he could get a look later this season. If not, he’ll be eligible for minor league free agency at season’s end, as is the case for all players with three-plus years of service who are outrighted off a 40-man roster, accept the assignment, and are not added back to the 40-man before the end of the year.

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