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
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Here’s an update on what’s going on in Florida’s Minor League system:
Miller is the new addition
The Marlins outrighted right-handed reliever Justin Miller to the Isotopes this week, 10 days after they designated him for assignment to bring up catcher Paul Lo Duca. How Miller does in the few remaining games the Isotopes have left could determine whether they bring him back up with teh Marlins when rosters expand to up to 40 players after Sept. 1.
Bringing up Miller could be a big question for the Marlins, who would have to be added to the 40-man roster first.
Follow the leader
With just nine games to go in his regular season, standout third baseman Dallas McPherson continues to lead the Minor League world in home runs with 40, three ahead of Nelson Cruz.
McPherson is enjoying a stellar comeback year after missing all of 2007 with back surgery. The 28-year-old is hitting .278 with 91 RBIs in 121 games.
Despite currently being on a three-game losing streak, the Marlins’ Double-A club is still in first place in the Southern League at 37-24 (a .607 winning percentage). They’re 5 1/2 games up in the North division, and a half-game ahead of Mississippi for first overall.
The Marlins’ first-round pick last year, Matt Dominguez, has been struggling as the season winds down for the Grasshoppers. Over his last 10 games, the 6-foot-2 right-handed hitting corner infielder is hitting just .220 (9-for-41). This season, the 18-year-old is batting .283 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 83 games.
Hammerheads holding on
With just nine games remaining in the regular season, the Marlins’ Single A club remains one game ahead of Daytona in the East division of the Florida State League for first place. Jupiter sits at 36-24, and both clubs have won three games in a row.
Injured Marlins: Left-hander Andrew Miller (right patella tendinitis), who threw 5 2/3 innings and 99 pitches in a rehab start on Thursday, will make another Double-A rehab start Wednesday and be on a pitch count of 100. … Righty reliever Doug Waechter (right shoulder inflammation) threw a pain-free inning of scoreless relief during a rehab assignment outing Thursday. Waechter is getting some work with the Gulf Coast League Marlins and is eligible to come off the disabled list.
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
Here’s a look at what’s shakin’ in the Marlins’ farm system. Look for an update from me on this subject at least once a week.
McPherson keeps lighting it up
Everyone knows the Marlins hit a lot of home runs, but that feeling seems to be rubbing off in their farm system, too.
On Wednesday night, Dallas McPherson blasted a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to erase a two-run deficit and give the Isotopes the victory. McPherson hit three home runs on Sunday, and he now has 39 dingers — which lead the Pacific Coast League — to go along with a .302 batting average and 86 RBIs in 101 games.
The 28-year-old slugger missed all of last season while recovering from back surgery, and he seems to be making out just fine this season. Now, his focus is on making it to the big club.
“I think everybody just wants to be in the big leagues,” McPherson told MLB.com recently. “I signed with the Marlins to be there with the Marlins, and that’s what I want and am trying to do.”
Tucker remains in bullpen
Looks like the Marlins are convinced in Ryan Tucker being a reliever.
The 21-year-old rookie made six starts before being moved to the bullpen with the Marlins, giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings as a reliever. And ever since being optioned back to the Mudcats on July 23 for Justin Miller, Tucker has stayed there. In two appearances since going back to the Minor Leagues, Tucker has pitched four innings of relief, giving up no runs and three hits while walking two.
Maybin is back
Center field prospect Cameron Maybin is playing again after straining his left hamstring. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter returned to the lineup on July 28, and in three games back, he is 1-for-6 with two runs scored and three walks. On the year, Maybin is batting .263 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs in 84 games.
Allison back pitching
Jeff Allison, the Marlins’ 2003 first-round pick who has battled drug addiction, is back pitching in the Marlins’ organization, going 6-7 with a 4.52 ERA in 20 games — 19 of them starts. Earlier this week, Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming said Allison is on track to be a big league pitcher.
That’s a big statement considering how tough of a road Allison has gone through.
Look for a story on Allison’s tough road back on MLB.com in the near future.
Dominguez struggling a bit
The Marlins’ third-base prospect, Matt Dominguez, has struggled a bit lately, going 3-for-23 in his last six games. On the year, Dominguez — drafted 12 overall in 2007 — is hitting .278 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 61 games.
Players creating buzz: While the Marlins were in pursuit of Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, several of their prospects were rumored to be involved in a package that would go to the Pirates, along with Jeremy Hermida, while Pittsburgh would send Jason Bay to Boston. They were: Tucker, Allison and Mike Stanton (.274, 27 home runs, 67 RBIs in 99 games).
– Alden Gonzalez