MIAMI — It’s official. The Dodgers are headed back to Albuquerque to play at Isotopes Park, meaning the Marlins will need to find a new place to field its Triple-A affiliate. Nothing has been set yet, but the Marlins are expected to place their Triple-A team in New Orleans, where the Mets previously were — before they moved to Buffalo.
As for the Marlins’ Double A affiliate, it was announced on Thursday that they signed a two-year agreement to move to Jacksonville, Fla. — making it a lot easier to transport players. The new affiliate is the Jacksonville Suns who have been the home of the Dodgers since 2001.
With so many players being arbritration eligible for next season, the Marlins could field several new faces in Spring Training next year. We’ve already seen a little bit from Dallas McPherson, Gaby Sanchez and Cameron Maybin, but Chris Coghlan (.298, 74 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 132 games for Double-A Carolina) figures to be a factor to start at second base if Dan Uggla isn’t brought back, and Mike Stanton (.293 with 39 home runs and 97 RBIs in 125 games for Class A Greensboro) has definitely opened up some eyes. Matt Dominguez (.296 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 88 games for Class A Greensboro) is still a little young, but he had a great year, too.
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — There’s a chance the Marlins may not have a Triple A team in Albuquerque, N.M., next season. That’s because the Dodgers have yet to reach a contract extension with their Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll do so by the cutoff point on Sept. 30.
The Dodgers’ Triple A team had been located in Albuquerque from 1972-2000 — then known as the Dukes — and it seems like they want to move back. If that’s the case, it would be the Marlins that would likely end up in Vegas.
It would also be the Marlins who would be giving up having their young stars play in the beautiful Isotopes Park (right) — finished in 2003. The area of the stadium’s current location was known as the Albuquerque Sports Stadium before most of it was demolished when the Dodgers moved out. Instead, the Triple-A Marlins could be playing in the 25-year-old, less-than-10,000-seat-capacity Cashman Field in Nevada (left).
Another option could be New Orleans, where the Mets look to be moving on.
Teams have until Sept. 11 to let the commissioner’s office know they’d like to consider other options, and they’ll start negotiating in a two-week period beginning Sept. 16.
In an article by the Las Vegas Sun, 51s President Don Logan said he doesn’t feel like the Dodgers will be back, but his organization is guaranteed somebody. He said by the time the smoke clears, it would be the Marlins and Nationals still looking for a Triple-A affiliate.
The 51s were looking to rename their organization, but that’s been put on hold because of the uncertainty.
Currently, the Marlins have agreements with Single-A Greensboro and Jupiter. Albuquerque, as well as Double-A Carolina and short-season Class A Jamestown, are still up in the air, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — The Marlins’ Double-A affiliate, the Carolina Mudc
ats, swept the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in the Northern Division playoffs and will face off against the Mississippi Braves in a five-game series beginning Monday.
The Mudcats outscored West Tennessee, 22-5, and Gaby Sanchez went 5-for-12 with three RBIs in the series.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’d wait until the Double A playoffs are over before he calls anybody from the Mudcats up. And when they are, Sanchez and Cameron Maybin are very likely candidates.
After starting off the season 33-36, the Marlins’ High A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads, went right down to the wire in the second half for first place in the Florida State League’s East Division. While going 41-28 to end the year, the Hammerheads finished just a half-game out of the first place Daytona Cubs — a lead they lost during their last five games of the season.
Going into the final five contests, Jupiter actually held a half-game lead on the Cubs but had five games against them to finish off the season. The Hammerheads split the first two, but they fell in the following two games to put them at 1 1/2 out and mathematically eliminated. The Marlins’ 2003 first-round pick, Jeff Allison, was the losing pitcher in the dagger, getting rocked for seven runs (six earned) in just two innings.
Don’t blame Adalberto Mendez for the Hammerheads coming up short in their quest for the playoffs. All he did was record 29 saves — tied for the FSL lead — while posting a 3.47 ERA. In 57 innings, Mendez struck out 59 batters and limited his opponents to a measley .215 batting average.
I know Mendez isn’t one of the more popular candidates for the Marlins’ closers role in 2009 if Kevin Gregg isn’t retained — that title belongs to Matt Lindstrom and Ryan Tucker. But neither of those two have impressed much in the Major Leagues, and a season like this one could make Mendez, a 26-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic, a potential candidate when Spring Training opens next year.
Mendez was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cubs in 2001 and, after five years in their system (he didn’t start until 2003), he was acquired by the Marlins for the 2008 season. It was a big bounce-back year for Mendez, who posted a 5.09 ERA last year between High A and Double A.
How they finished …
Albuquerque Isotopes: 68-75 (.476), 2nd in American South Division of Pacific Coast League; 7.5 games out of first place; 10th overall out of 16
Jupiter Hammerheads: 41-28 (.594), 2nd in East Division of FSL; .5 games out of first place; 3rd overall out of 12
Greensboro Grasshoppers: 28-40 (.412), 5th in Northern Division of South Atlantic League; 16 games out of first place; 13th overall out of 16
Jamestown Jammers: 47-29 (.618), 2nd in Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League; percentage points out of first place; 3rd overall out of 14
Gulf Coast League Marlins: 30-24 (.556), 2nd in East Division of GCL; 2.5 games out of first place; 5th overall out of 16
Since the beginning of the September callup period, the Marlins have brought in five players from their Minor League system. Here’s a look at how they’ve done since being called up/back:
Logan Kensing: 36.00 ERA in two appearances (four runs in one full inning)
Eulogio De La Cruz: one 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout
Robert Andino: 0-for-2 through two games
Dallas McPherson: 0-for-3 with three walks through three games (one start)
Brett Carroll: 0-for-1 with three appearances
– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com