The Miami Marlins appear to be all in to acquire three Cuban prospects who showcased their talents in South Florida earlier this week.
According to MLB.com and other sports outlets, Miami dealt right-hander Ryan Lillie, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, to the Reds for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money over the weekend. The belief is the Marlins are serious about signing Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston.
Miami seems to have the inside track in making deals for the three baseball players as the city’s Latino and Cuban community would be a natural fit. It would also help continue to build the bond between the city and the organization.
The Miami Marlins have stated they are continuing their goals of appealing to the culture of the community, which is heavily Latino and Cuban centralized.
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"“The Marlins have strong interest in signing the two Mesa brothers and Gaston, who were recently declared free agents by Major League Baseball,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “The three worked out Friday in front of about 75 scouts at Marlins Park.”"
All of the 30 MLB teams were represented at the workout.
Not only would signing the three Cuban stars be a solid move to add more talent, but it also continues along the same path team ownership has taken since buying the franchise from Jeffrey Loria a year ago. Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and Victor Jr., 17, are both outfielders, and Gaston is a hard-throwing 16-year-old right-hander, whose fastball maxed out at 97 mph during the workout.
The Marlins spent the last offseason retooling their minor league system with young pitching prospects, which was depleted of top-level talent. Both Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez made their Major League debuts before the All-Star Break.
Where the three prospects fit in the team’s minor league organization is unknown right now. Miami had around $4.3 million in the international pool before the trade. They only trailed the Baltimore Orioles, who are also said to be interested in any or all of the three prospects.
"“The Marlins have repeatedly stated that they intend to be aggressive in the Latin American market,” Frisaro added. “With Miami’s large Cuban-community, the club is targeting additional Cuban prospects and selling to them the advantages of living and playing in South Florida.”"
The Marlins are still attempting to rebuild from the bottom up. The front office has determined to build with the future in mind, which means they can take their time bringing the three along until they are ready for the Major League roster.
Team owner Derek Jeter was on hand to witness all three workouts and later met them with team officials for dinner.