Miami is close to signing Matt Downs to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp.
The 28-year-old utility infielder spent the past three seasons with the Astros. In 2012, he appeared in 91 games and he batted .202 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs.
Downs would give the Marlins versatility, because he has played second base, third base, shortstop and first base. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has also logged time the outfield.
A right-handed hitter, Downs would also be a pinch-hitting option.
Over the past two seasons, Downs has combined for 18 home runs in just 377 at-bats.
Downs, who attended the University of Alabama, was a 36th-round pick of the Giants in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made his big league debut in 2009, and he joined the Astros in 2010.
In 254 MLB games, Downs has a .230 batting average with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs.