Josh Booty won the MLB Network show “The Next Knuckler” and now has a shot at making the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Booty, 37, was originally drafted the Miami Marlins with the fifth overall pick in 1994 before he retired from baseball to play quarterback at LSU. Once he retired the Marlins placed him on the restricted list meaning they still technically own the rights to him.
This is where things get tricky. The Marlins have allowed the Diamondbacks to see what Booty has to offer and to use him as they want this spring. However, if Booty shows an ability to pitch and might contribute something then the Marlins will need to be compensated or have Booty returned to their organization.
Few people truly expect Booty to suddenly become a viable option in a Major League rotation. Even if he were to produce in spring training the likelihood that he would make the Diamondbacks rotation is remote. He would need to stretch his arm out and show the Diamondbacks front office that he can command the knuckleball with some consistency outside of spring training games.
However, what is Major League quality to the Diamondbacks might be completely different from what the Miami Marlins view as big league ready. If Booty the Diamondbacks believe Booty has enough potential as a knuckleball pitcher to warrant a spot in the minors would the Marlins seek compensation? That is the big question right now, at what point do the Marlins and Diamondbacks see Booty as a player good enough to warrant the Marlins receiving compensation?
As spring training develops and the Diamondbacks evaluate Booty’s potential as a pitcher they might just have a second pair of eyes peering over their shoulder from Miami. This could get interesting or ugly.