Marlins make minor trade that could help them land top Cuban prospects, including Victor Victor Mesa

Marlins make minor trade that could help them land top Cuban prospects, including Victor Victor Mesa

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. 

Miami Marlins: Jose Urena making team's decision difficult

Miami Marlins: Jose Urena making team's decision difficult

Dodgers Clinch; Wait For Word on Where the Postseason Will Begin by Sarah Maninger

After very publicly taking on the Atlanta Braves and their top rookie, the Miami Marlins had a seemingly easy offseason decision coming with Jose Urena. His performance since could make that decision more difficult.

The Miami Marlins were seemingly as outraged by Jose Urena‘s actions when he threw hard inside on Ronald Acuna on August 15th as the rest of baseball was. His own manager Don Mattingly didn’t lend much support, and Marlins management seemed to drop some hints that Urena may not be long for the Marlins roster.

While the Marlins massaged Urena’s suspension in order to have Urena miss facing the Braves in their last matchup of the season, his pitching since that day has been absolutely lights out.

In seven starts since the Braves game, Urena has tossed 45 innings with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He’s not striking out a ton of hitters, living more with weak contact than truly dominating hitters, but whatever it is, it’s been working for him, and not just for one game – for 7 starts and 45 innings. Most importantly, the Miami Marlins have gone 6-1 in the 7 starts while Urena has gone 6-0.

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After four seasons with the Miami Marlins, Jose Urena will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason. Urena spent 2015 and 2016 bouncing between the majors and minors, amassing a total of 145 1/3 innings.

The 2017 season was Urena’s “breakout” season, as he went 14-7 over 34 games, 28 of them starts. He tossed 169 2/3 innings, with a 3.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 64/113 BB/K ratio. With his final push, Urena will finish 2018 with a 9-12 record over 31 starts and 174 innings, posting a 3.98 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 51/130 BB/K ratio.

After his issue with Acuna, Urena seemed a certain non-tender candidate this winter. Now, with a likely $2 million or less salary for Urena in his first arbitration year, the Miami Marlins may have a tougher decision.

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The best solution for the Miami Marlins may be finding a trade partner looking for a back-end starter for a low price. Many scouts have believed that Urena could be a very impressive reliever if put into that role full-time, so perhaps moving to another organization could have his role moved as well. Regardless, his finish to the 2018 season has given the Marlins something to think about with Jose Urena.

Mets send off Wright, top Marlins in 13th

Mets send off Wright, top Marlins in 13th

David Wright played in his final major league game Saturday night, when the Mets third baseman went 0-for-1 with a walk before exiting in the top of the fifth inning of New York’s 1-0, 13-inning win over the visiting Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

Austin Jackson’s walk-off RBI double scored Michael Conforto and finally capped a marathon that lasted four hours and 14 minutes.

Daniel Zamora (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless 13th for the Mets (76-85). Jarlin Garcia (3-3) took the loss for the Marlins (63-97).

Wright, who before this weekend hadn’t played for the Mets since May 27, 2016, due to neck, back and shoulder surgeries, spent most of the summer rehabbing but said during a press conference Sept. 13 that he would not be able to play baseball beyond this season. He and the Mets agreed he would suit up for the final homestand and start the penultimate game.

Wright grounded out as a pinch hitter Friday night before receiving a send-off fitting for the most accomplished player to play his entire career with the Mets. Wright, who was selected by New York in the first round of the 2001 draft, leads the franchise in eight offensive categories, including hits (1,777) and RBIs (970) and ranks second in games played (1,585) and home runs (242)

Fans were allowed in to watch batting practice and roared as he hit three homers. Afterward, Wright signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans gathered behind home plate before he made his way down the first base line.

Wright’s 2-year-old daughter, Olivia Shea, threw out the first pitch to him as his parents, wife and infant daughter watched from behind her.

An opportunity to pen the storybook ending presented itself in the first inning, when Wright’s longtime teammate and friend, Jose Reyes, laced a leadoff double and went to third on Jeff McNeil’s sacrifice. But Wright was walked on six pitches by Trevor Richards.

Wright fielded his lone chance in the second before making his final plate appearance leading off the fourth. With the crowd of 43,928 standing, Wright popped up to first base, where Peter O’Brien seemed almost sheepish as he made the catch. Wright grinned and tapped his bat against his shoes as he walked into the dugout.

Wright jogged out to third base for the top of the fifth, but manager Mickey Callaway exited the dugout to pull Wright for Amed Rosario. A teary-eyed Wright waved to all sections of Citi Field and hugged teammates standing in front of the dugout before heading down the steps. He exited for one more curtain call before disappearing into the clubhouse.

Marlins starter Trevor Richards allowed six hits and two walks while striking out eight over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Mets starter Steven Matz gave up three hits and one walk while striking out eight over six scoreless frames.

—Field Level Media

Marlins Home Attendance Lowest Since 2004 Expos

Marlins Home Attendance Lowest Since 2004 Expos

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MIAMI (AP) — The 25th anniversary of the Marlins franchise was seen by the fewest fans at home in team history.

The Marlins became the first major league team to draw fewer than 1 million fans at home since the 2004 Montreal Expos, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 Sunday before 13,595 to complete the Miami portion of their schedule in Derek Jeter’s first season as chief executive officer.

“Obviously we would like to fill it up every day, but I know it’s the first year of what we’re doing and a lot of new people and a lot of new things we’re doing at the ballpark, so it’s hard for me to assess,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

After trading star slugger Giancarlo Stanton to Jeter’s former team, the New York Yankees, during an offseason payroll purge, the Marlins went 38-43 at home and drew 811,104 for an average of 10,014.

Miami’s previous low was 813,118 in 2002.

The Marlins are last in the NL East at 62-93 overall, their eighth consecutive losing season. The Marlins have not reached the playoffs since beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.

Miami’s attendance is the lowest for a big league team since the Expos drew 749,550 in 2004, their last season before moving to Washington and becoming the Nationals. Miami is finishing its seventh season at Marlins Park, built with a retractable roof to encourage attendance in Florida’s summer heat and humidity.

“I think you’re going to have low numbers just about anywhere at certain points in the season with the weather and atmosphere, it’s going to happen,” Marlins rookie Brian Anderson said. “It can be tough sometimes, but that’s just how a big league season is. It’s a grind, but we made it through it this year.”

The only other team under 1.4 million at home this year is cross-state rival Tampa Bay, which has drawn 1,091,863 with a week of home games remaining.

“Hopefully we’re playing good enough to where fans want to see it and they want to support us,” Anderson said. “We do have a good fan base down here in Miami and I think we’ve seen that especially this weekend.”

Despite the low season turnout, the Marlins turned in the second-largest weekend draw of the season at 37,625, including 13,595 on Sunday.

“The fans showed up today,” said Trevor Richards, who pitched seven innings and struck out nine. “You could hear them. It was a pretty good crowd. It was fun today.”

Rookie catcher Chad Wallach hit his first big league home run, a three-run drive in a four-run third off Michael Lorenzen (3-2), who allowed nine hits in four innings. Wallach and Anderson each had three hits.

“In the big moments and we’re putting runs across, the fans are getting into it, it’s a good time and you see what it can be like it here and how much fun it can be,” Anderson said. “We look forward to more of that next year and hopefully getting more fans and getting a little bit better of an atmosphere.”
Trevor Richards (4-9) gave up three hits in seven innings, struck out nine and walked one. Tyler Kinley and Drew Rucinski finished a four-hitter.

“It was just a lot of fun,” Wallach said. “The homer was obviously fun. It was great catching Trevor out there. He was phenomenal today. He had everything going for him. It was just a fun game.”

Cincinnati finished the road portion of its schedule at 30-51, its fourth straight season of 50 or more losses away from home. The Reds are 36-40 at home.

Jeter's Marlins finish as poorest home draw since 2004 Expos

Jeter's Marlins finish as poorest home draw since 2004 Expos

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Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly, right, celebrates with Miami Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson after they defeated the Cincinnati Reds in a baseball game in Miami, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

MIAMI (AP) — The Marlins became the first major league team to draw fewer than 1 million fans at home since the 2004 Montreal Expos, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 Sunday before 13,595 to complete the Miami portion of their schedule in Derek Jeter’s first season as chief executive officer.

After trading star slugger Giancarlo Stanton to Jeter’s former team, the New York Yankees, during an offseason payroll purge, the Marlins went 38-43 at home and drew 811,104 for an average of 10,014. They are last in the NL East at 62-93 overall, their eighth consecutive losing season. The Marlins have not reached the playoffs since beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.

Miami’s attendance is the lowest for a big league team since the Expos drew 749,550 in 2004, their last season before moving to Washington and becoming the Nationals.

The only other team under 1.4 million at home this year is cross-state rival Tampa Bay, which has drawn 1,091,863 with a week of home games remaining.

Rookie Chad Wallach hit his first big league home run, a three-run drive in a four-run third off Michael Lorenzen (3-2), who allowed nine hits in four innings. Wallach and Brian Anderson each had three hits.

Trevor Richards (4-9) gave up three hits in seven innings, struck out nine and walked one. Tyler Kinley and Drew Rucinski finished a four-hitter.

Cincinnati finished the road portion of its schedule at 30-51, its fourth straight season of 50 or more losses away from home. The Reds are 36-40 at home.

UP NEXT

Reds: RHP Matt Harvey (7-9, 4.92 ERA) is to start Tuesday’s opener of a two-game home series against Kansas City.

Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 2.35) is slated for Monday’s first game of a three-game series at Washington.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Cincinnati Reds end their final road trip with another shutout loss to Miami Marlins

Cincinnati Reds end their final road trip with another shutout loss to Miami Marlins

MIAMI – When Michael Lorenzen returned to the dugout following the fourth inning Sunday, he took off his glove and threw it toward the bench. Then he threw his hat.

In the final game of a 10-game road trip against the Miami Marlins, nothing went right.

Making his second start of the season, Lorenzen struggled to command his pitches. The Reds were shutout for the fifth time in their last nine games. There were defensive miscues in a matchup between a pair of last-place teams.

Lorenzen’s outburst in the dugout probably summarized it best in a dreadful 6-0 loss at Marlins Park in front of 13,595 fans.

The Reds lost three of their four games against the Marlins, the team with the worst record in the National League.

Lorenzen, who was sharp in his first start, frequently was behind in counts. He gave up four runs in the third inning, unable to pitch out of trouble when he allowed a three-run homer to Marlins catcher Chad Wallach, who had a few at-bats for the Reds last year.  

It was Wallach’s first home run of his career. Lorenzen knew it was hit well and didn’t turn around to watch the ball.

In the first inning, Lorenzen surrendered a pair of singles to begin the game. He fought back from a 3-0 count against No. 3 hitter Starlin Castro to induce a double play.

Lorenzen, who stranded the bases loaded in the second inning, gave up two singles to begin the fourth inning. He avoided more damage when Marlins outfielder Austin Dean, the No. 2 batter in the lineup, lined into a double play at shortstop.

Pitching four innings, Lorenzen allowed nine hits, four runs and two walks. He threw 65 pitches, knowing before the start that he would be limited to 60-70 pitches. He threw a first-pitch strike to 11 of the 21 batters he faced.

It’s easy to understand Lorenzen’s frustrations as he tries to make himself a candidate for next year’s starting rotation. In two starts, he’s allowed four earned runs in eight innings.

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The Marlins scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, benefitting from a few ugly plays. Rookie third baseman Brian Anderson hit a one-out single. Anderson then advanced to second base on a wild pitch, moved to third when catcher Curt Casali’s throw went in center field. Anderson scored on another wild pitch.

The inning was extended when Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett misplayed a ground ball for the team’s second error of the inning, and No. 9 batter Magneuris Sierra delivered an RBI single.

Marlins rookie right-hander Trevor Richards silenced the Reds’ offense, allowing three hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings. Richards, who entered Sunday with a 5.22 ERA since the All-Star break, struck out nine.

Eugenio Suárez was the only Reds hitter to reach second base. Suárez and Tucker Barnhart hit back-to-back one-out singles in the fourth inning but were stranded when Richards struck out the next two batters on called third strikes.

The Reds scored 12 runs during their 10-game road trip, finishing the season with a 30-51 road record. Against the Marlins, they produced five runs in four games. 

With one week remaining in the season, the Reds will play the Kansas City Royals in a two-game series beginning Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.