First baseman/left fielder Chris Marrero has agreed to a deal with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News was the first to report that Marrero, who was recently designated for assignment and outrighted by the Giants, was close to joining the Buffaloes (Twitter link).
The Giants will receive some level of cash compensation for selling Marrero’s contract to the Buffaloes, and Marrero himself will presumably be paid more than he’d have earned if he stuck with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, thus making it a winning scenario for all parties involved. Marrero is represented by MSM Sports.
Marrero, 28, was a first-round pick by the Nationals (15th overall) back in 2006 and made his big league debut with the Nats as a 22-year-old in 2011. However, he’s never solidified himself in the Majors and would only see action in parts of two big league seasons with the Nationals before being cut loose in 2013.
Since that time, Marrero has bounced around the minor league circuit, logging seasons with the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates for the Orioles, White Sox and Red Sox before signing a minors pact with the Giants this past winter. A Herculean Spring Training in which Marrero clubbed seven homers with a .979 OPS (plus some injuries to his competitors) led Marrero to break camp with the Giants as part of a left-field platoon with Jarrett Parker. However, Marrero hit just .132/.171/.211 across 41 plate appearances with the Giants before being designated for assignment to clear a spot for Christian Arroyo.
For all of his struggles in the Majors, Marrero has a much stronger .274/.340/.430 career batting line in parts of seven Triple-A seasons. That includes a robust .284/.344/.494 slash and a career-best 23 homers with the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in 2016. If Marrero can find success overseas, he can certainly carve out a lucrative career playing in Japan. Alternatively, he could make some adjustments to his game and pique the interest of an MLB club, perhaps leading to another crack at the Majors somewhere down the line.