The Miami Marlins have a new Single-A affiliate. The Clinton LumberKings will replace the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the organization’s minor league system.
The Miami Marlins affiliation with the Greensboro Grasshoppers is no more. The team has announced a two-year development contract with the Clinton LumberKings as Miami’s newest minor league ballclub. That means players who were part of the Marlins organization like Jorge Guzman spent the past season in North Carolina, getting their feet wet and improving their ball skills.
Clinton made it official on Thursday, per the team’s website.
"“The Clinton LumberKings and Miami Marlins have announced the signing of a two-year Player Development Contract (PDC) that will affiliate the two teams through the 2020 season. The PDC ends a ten-year affiliation between the LumberKings and Seattle Mariners that was the second longest affiliation in the franchise’s history,” the team’s public relations department announced."
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The move also means the Marlins will not have a team in the South Atlantic League in 2019. Clinton is in Iowa. The team plays its home games at Ashford University Field. The Marlins and Greensboro were in a partnership that lasted 16 seasons. The stadium seats 5,500 fans.
The move to another MLB organization gives the community an opportunity to see new prospects in their rise toward the big leagues.
"“The Clinton LumberKings are excited to welcome back to the Midwest League the Miami Marlins,” said LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow. “This will give our knowledgeable fans a chance to look at the development of National League prospects for the first time in Clinton since 2002. We feel this will be a great partnership for success on the field, in the community, and for the development of these players”"
In a corresponding move, the Grasshoppers have struck a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the next two seasons, per the team’s public relations department.
Per Greensboro.com, the Grasshoppers just finished its 11th losing season in 16 years as a Marlins affiliate and yet the Hoppers led the South Atlantic League in paid attendance at 322,156. The last time the Marlins had an affiliate in the Midwest League, from 1993-2002, they were the Kane County Cougars.
"“Triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera, 20-game winner Dontrelle Willis, World Series MVP Edgar Renteria, and perennial All-Star Adrian Gonzalez were some of the 66 names that made it to the Major Leagues from the Marlins last Midwest League affiliate all played there,” according to Erik Oas of the LumberKings."