Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
After winnings the MLB Network reality show "The Next Knuckler," Josh Booty is still property of the Marlins.
The winner of the show was supposed to audition for a spot on the Diamondbacks, but because Booty played for the Marlins in the 90s, he is still controlled by the team. He retired in 1999, which placed him on the team's retired list.
The team agreed to release him from their retired list, but if he is going to make a roster with the Diamondbacks then they have to return him to the Marlins.
Miami selected Booty with the fifth overall pick in the 1994 draft, and he was on the team's 1997 World Series winning roster. He got a ring for being a part of that team, but Booty would eventually leave to pursue an NFL career. The NFL never worked out for Booty, and he bounced around the league without ever starting a game.
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This story is yet another chapter in the book of Jeff Loria-related PR mishaps, although to be fair it makes sense for the Marlins to want to wait-and-see if Booty could be valuable.
For a team that will likely struggle to sell tickets, keeping an eye on the reality show-contestant could be a good move to attract interest from the fans. We saw them do similar things to try and attract attention last year, when the team gave Adam Greenberg an at-bat near the end of the season.
It is probably a long-shot for Booty to make a roster in any case.