JUPITER, Fla. — For a franchise that has been a perennial loser, Victor Victor Mesa sounds like a winner.

The Miami Marlins can’t be sure, however, because they’ve never seen Mesa play. They agreed to a $5.25 million signing bonus last October with the highly touted Cuban defector and can begin to assess the investment Saturday in their spring training opener.

It has been more than two years since Mesa’s most recent game. The Marlins based their evaluation of him on videotape of his play in Cuba.

“That was the only opportunity we had, and every other major league team had,” said Gary Denbo, vice president of player development and scouting. “But I have a lot of confidence what we’re going to see is going to be exciting.”

Mesa, 22, left Cuba nearly a year ago to pursue a major league career and was considered the top international free agent last fall. Miami signed him and his 17-year-old brother, Victor Jr., after both tried out at Marlins Park for scouts from all 30 major league teams.

The session stoked the Marlins’ enthusiasm for the elder Mesa.

“He took a batting practice that would rival any of our major league players, hitting head-high line drives all around the field,” Denbo said Thursday.

LABOR: Players’ union head Tony Clark says Adam Wainwright’s comments about a possible strike were in line with widespread concern he hears from his members about a free-agent market they claim has become dysfunctional.

Starting his tour of spring training camps, Clark said he isn’t drawing conclusions about the market based on Manny Machado’s pending $300 million, 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres, which would be the second-highest contract in baseball history.

Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are among dozens of free agents still looking for a deal.

INDIANS: The Indians and two-time All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard have agreed to a minor league contract.

Clippard, who spent last season with the Blue Jays, will try to earn a spot in Cleveland’s revamped bullpen.

DODGERS: The Los Angeles Dodgers will honor pitching great Don Newcombe by adding a commemorative No. 36 patch to their uniforms this season.

Newcombe died Tuesday at 92.

The team said Newcombe will be saluted in pregame ceremonies on April 27, when he is inducted into the Legends of Dodger Baseball. He will also have a commemorative bobblehead.

PHILLIES: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe agreed to a minor league contract to remain with the Phillies.

Plouffe, 32, spent last season in the Philadelphia organization and played in seven major league games, going 3 for 12.

MEDIA: Former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard has joined ESPN as an analyst on “Baseball Tonight.”