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Outfielder will be invited to Spring Training, could help with depth in outfield

Matt den Dekker will be invited to Spring Training, could help with depth in outfield

The Miami Marlins have announced they have signed outfielder Matt den Dekker to Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training with the Marlins, giving the organization depth with big league experience.

The former Mets and Nationals big leaguer is from Ft. Lauderdale. MLB.com first reported the signing.

The left-handed-hitting and throwing outfielder has appeared in 154 big league games since breaking in with the Mets in 2013. With Washington in 2016, den Dekker had 39 plate appearances, and in limited action, he batted .176 with one double, one home run and four RBIs. He spent much of the season at Triple-A Syracuse, where he had a slash line of .207/.292/.315 with eight homers and 44 RBIs.The Marlins are in the process of adding non-roster invitees, and den Dekker, who attended the University of Florida, joins a list that previously included pitchers Kyle Lobstein, Caleb Thielbar and Frank Garces. Miami is in the market for organizational outfield depth. Cole Gillespie, who split time at Triple-A New Orleans and with the Marlins in 2016, is currently a free agent.

The Marlins are also willing to re-sign Jeff Francouer who they acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the second half of last season to provide roster depth and help supplant the loss of Giancarlo Stanton who suffered a severe groin strain and returned for only a handful of games before the end of the season.

The 29-year-old den Dekker also has ties to the state of Florida as he was a member of the Florida Gators baseball team in college. Den Dekker hit .296/.409/.412 as a junior with 17 steals in 18 tries. He was still rated 92nd overall by Baseball America among prospects entering the 2009 Major League Baseball draft – then was not selected until the 475th overall pick, when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 16th round. He returned to Florida for his senior year, hitting .358 with a team-leading 64 runs scored and a career-best 49 runs batted in as the Gators reached the 2010 College World Series.

After college, den Dekker was selected by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. He made his pro debut that summer with the Gulf Coast League Mets, hitting .278 with 5 RBI in 5 games before being promoted to the Savannah Sand Gnats. In 2011, den Dekker played for the St. Lucie Mets and Binghamton Mets. He was invited to spring training in 2012.

In 2015, the Mets traded den Dekker to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Jerry Blevins


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