The Miami Marlins made a trade on Saturday. The deal didn’t make headlines for a couple reasons — the playoffs are ongoing; plus it was minor, sending right-hander Ryan Lillie to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for international bonus pool money — but it could lead to some.
According to various sources, including MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Marlins are interested in signing three Cuban prospects: outfielders Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr., and righty Sandy Gaston:
The trio worked out for teams Friday at Marlins Park, even facing Miami’s minor-league talent in simulated settings. Granted, other teams were in attendance, so there’s no need to read too far into the setting and circumstances, but the Marlins’ interest appears genuine.
Miami should have a real shot at landing at least one of the three, too. With more than $4.3 million in signing pool money, the Marlins can be outbid only by the Baltimore Orioles (who have nearly $2 million more to offer). Just one other team, the Tampa Bay Rays, has more more than $3 million available for their bidding.
Mesa is considered the top international prospect by MLB.com. He’s 22 and projects to have a plus arm and plus speed, with the chance to be an average hitter who stays in center field. Mesa Jr. is unranked, but has youth and bloodlines on his side. The pair’s father, Victor Mesa Sr., is a legend in Cuban baseball, having played nearly two decades and managed since.
Gaston, by the way, checks in at No. 16 on MLB.com’s list. The 16-year-old is on the small side, but boasts near-elite arm strength.