Marlins, Matt Downs near deal

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Miami is close to bringing the free-agent infielder to South Beach.

The Miami Marlins are closing in on a minor-league contract with free-agent infielder Matt Downs, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:

More infield depth with big league experience could be joining the Marlins in Spring Training.

Miami is close to signing Matt Downs to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp.

Downs, 28, spent the last two-plus seasons in a part-time role with the Houston Astros, getting most of his playing time at the infield and outfield corner spots. The right-handed hitter batted .235/.298/.432 with 18 home runs in 434 plate appearances in his stint with Houston, showing a glimpse of the power he demonstrated in the Giants' farm system.

While Downs spends most of his time on the infield -- where he has played all four positions -- he also has some experience patrolling the outfield grass, which could make him a valuable asset off the bench for the Marlins. Several of Miami's corner players -- Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Placido Polanco -- have battled injuries of late, so Downs could fill in at any of their three positions if needed.

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