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Marlins finalize contract with veteran Baker

Marlins finalize contract with veteran Baker play video for Marlins finalize contract with veteran Baker

MIAMI -- Miami's bench has officially added some more power and versatility.

The Marlins on Friday afternoon announced the signing of free agent Jeff Baker, who becomes a platoon option at first base and a candidate to play several positions.

"We are very excited to add such an experienced player in Jeff Baker," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Offensively and defensively, we like the options that his versatility will provide [manager] Mike Redmond."

Baker, 32, reached agreement on a two-year, $3.7 million contract on Tuesday. The deal was consummated after the veteran completed his physical examination and the two sides finalized the paperwork.

With that in order, Baker is now formally ready to assume his new role with his sixth big league club. To make room on the 40-man roster, Miami designated outfielder Jimmy Paredes for assignment. The Marlins claimed Paredes off waivers from the Astros in November.

A right-handed hitter with some pop, Baker batted .279 with 11 home runs and 21 RBIs over 74 games for the Rangers last year. He promises to see considerable action against left-handed pitchers. A year ago, he batted .314 (33-for-105) against southpaws.

Miami's willingness to offer two guaranteed years factored into Baker's decision. He will make $1.6 million this season, and $2.1 million in 2015. The Nationals and Orioles were among the teams that also coveted his services.

The Marlins have stated lefty-hitting Garrett Jones will get a chance to play regularly at first base. But if a platoon situation arises, Baker is a candidate to split time at the position. He also plays third base, second base and both corner-outfield positions, and he promises to get plenty of pinch-hit opportunities.

A fourth round pick of the Rockies in 2004, Baker made his Major League debut the following season. He is a career .267 hitter with a .440 slugging percentage.

Along with Colorado and Texas, Baker has also played for the Cubs, Tigers and Braves.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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