#FishFriday – December 19, 2014

The latest big acquisition by the Miami Marlins, Michael Morse, who was a postseason hero for the San Francisco Giants in 2014.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins stayed busy over the past week, filling more key needs for the 2015 roster.

Needs for a power bat and first baseman were filled with one signing, as the Marlins agreed to a deal with Michael Morse for two years and 16 million dollars on Wednesday. Morse was a postseason hero for the World Champion San Francisco Giants this past season, and poses a legitimate power threat in the lineup behind Giancarlo Stanton.

While the Marlins are expected to continue adding depth to the bench and addressing a few needs on the pitching staff, the 2015 lineup is starting to take shape according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro:

Today Morse along with new Marlins Mat Latos and Dee Gordon will be formally introduced at Marlins Park.

The Suns held their annual Christmas Party on Tuesday night, and Barbara O’Berry’s gingerbread house version of Bragan Field stole the show:

Several views of the Bragan Field gingerbread house and its creator, Barbara O'Berry. Photo Courtesy: January Putt / Jacksonville Suns.

Several views of the Bragan Field gingerbread house and its creator, Barbara O’Berry. Photo Courtesy: January Putt / Jacksonville Suns.

The baseball world is buzzing today with all the news surrounding the San Diego Padres. Not only did they trade for Wil Myers from the Rays and former Sun Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, this morning we learned that they also have acquired Justin Upton from the Braves and are potentially close to getting Will Middlebrooks. All this Padres activity took me back to my youth, when I once “suited up” for the Friars with my San Diego cousins:

And before we get to our links, I hope all of you by now saw the excellent final moments of the last Colbert Report last night. I never watched this show very much but this series finale is epic:

Here are today’s #FishFriday links, have a great weekend as we get closer to Christmas!

Marlins.com: McGehee: Miami ready to face high expectations
MLB.com: Justice: Marlins full of intrigue after reshaping
Marlins.com: Morse, Marlins finalize 2-year, $16 million deal
Miami Herald: Sports Buzz: Breaking down Marlins’ key pickups and scouts’ views
Sun Sentinel: Miami Marlins: Ankle injury ends Derek Dietrich’s winter ball season
Fish Stripes: Marlins considering Jake Peavy if Haren retires
MiLB.com: Toilet, trampoline among ‘Bizzies’ winners
The New York Times: A Salute to Sy Berger, From a Card-Carrying Fan
The New York Times: Opening of Relations Could Bring Cuban Stars to Major League Baseball
Los Angeles Times: Dodgers’ Vin Scully loses one golden ring in holiday loop around Costco
NBC Sports Hardball Talk: Justin Upton traded to the Padres for three prospects
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Rays’ stadium deal rejected by St. Petersburg City Council

The Gingerbread Bragan Field!

Bragan Field in delicious form! Photo Courtesy: Joe Cowart 1010XL

Bragan Field in delicious form! Photo Courtesy: Joe Cowart 1010XL

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Jacksonville Suns held their annual Christmas party at Bragan Field on Tuesday night, and the event featured an added attraction with the gingerbread house version of Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The creation is courtesy of Suns Senior Director of Business Administration Barbara O’Berry, who is known for her creative cakes to celebrate birthdays around the front office. Suns staff members helped the house come alive over the past week, and the finished product was a success!

Several views of the Bragan Field gingerbread house and its creator, Barbara O'Berry. Photo Courtesy: January Putt / Jacksonville Suns.

Several views of the Bragan Field gingerbread house and its creator, Barbara O’Berry. Photo Courtesy: January Putt / Jacksonville Suns.

Here is more social media reaction to the house and to the Suns Christmas Party. We’re getting closer to Christmas, and that means closer to Opening Day!

#MarlinsMonday – December 15, 2014

Mat Latos adds another power arm to the Marlins rotation. Photo Courtesy: NBC Bay Area

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Has everyone caught their breath from last week’s Winter Meetings?

If you’re a Marlins fan you’re probably still going through all of the moves that the Suns’ parent organization made, as the Fish were among the biggest wheelers and dealers during a busy week in San Diego.

Here is a full rundown of all of the moves that the Marlins made last week (compliments of The Baseball Cube), with former Jacksonville Suns in bold:

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Scott Sizemore -Signed to Minor League Contract

Friday, December 12, 2014
Andre Rienzo – Traded from White Sox to Marlins for Dan Jennings
Mat Latos –  Traded from Reds to Marlins for Anthony Desclafani and Chad Wallach
Andrew McKirahan – Drafted from Cubs by Marlins in Rule 5 Draft

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Dee Gordon, Traded from Dodgers with Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas and PTBNL to Marlins for Andrew Heaney, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Hatcher and Austin Barnes

Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Jhonatan Solano -Signed to Minor League Contract

Monday, December 08, 2014
James Leverton – Signed to Minor League Contract

All signs point to the Marlins still staying busy this week, looking to get as much work done before the Christmas holiday.

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, first installment of “Suns on the Move” coming up Wednesday!

Marlins.com: Busy Marlins turning attention to further moves
Marlins.com: Marlins land Latos as rotation gets more seasoning
Miami Herald: Marlins Park appealing to newcomers Dee Gordon, Mat Latos
Sun Sentinel: Marlins manager Redmond tears Achilles tendon
Sun Sentinel: Former Marlin Dempster aims to aid Cubs revival in new front-office role
Fish Stripes: Miami Marlins 2014 Winter Meetings recap
Fish Stripes: Marlins lose Mark Canha to Rockies
Yahoo! Big League Stew: John Hart on retooling Braves: Not like I’m breaking up ’27 Yanks
Ballpark Digest: Braves unveil new ballpark, development renderings
The New York Times: Dodgers’ Transformation Started With Front Office
The New York Times: Sy Berger, Who Turned Boyhood Heroes Into Brilliant Rectangles, Dies at 91

Former Suns involved in Marlins-Dodgers Trade

Andrew Heaney is now a member of the Angels organization after being traded twice Wednesday. Photo Courtesy: Jay Metz / Jacksonville Suns

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

In a frenzied past two days of activity at Baseball’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, former Jacksonville Suns have been involved in one of the game’s most noteworthy trades.

The Miami Marlins confirmed late last night that former Suns Andrew Heaney, Austin Barnes, and Chris Hatcher along with Enrique Hernandez have been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and Miguel Rojas.

While Heaney was involved in this trade to the Dodgers, he was quickly dealt across town to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for second baseman Howie Kendrick.

Heaney and Barnes were members of the Suns the past two seasons, and Barnes was a postseason hero in 2014 as the Suns won the Southern League Championship.

Heaney, listed by Baseball America as the Marlins No. 1 prospect and the top left-handed pitching prospect in baseball entering the season, went 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA in nine appearances and eight starts for Jacksonville in 2014. Overall in his time with the Suns in 2013 and 2014, Heaney was 8-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts. Heaney finished the season mainly with Triple-A New Orleans where he was 5-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 15 starts, and he also had two stints in the big leagues with the Marlins where he was 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA in five starts and seven appearances.

Austin Barnes with the Suns in 2014. Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover.

Barnes proved to be one of Jacksonville’s most clutch home run hitters during the second half of the 2014 season. In his first 34 games with the Suns Barnes did not homer, but in the final 43 games Barnes hit 12 home runs to help the Suns clinch a Second Half South Division title. Barnes in the regular season for the Suns hit .296 with the 12 homers and 43 RBI. He was also clutch in Game One of the South Division Championship Series, as his 9th inning two-run homer when the Suns were down to their final out pushed Jacksonville to a 5-4 win over Mobile in what turned out to be a four-game series win for the Suns.

Versatility also was key for Barnes in his Jacksonville time. Despite being listed on the roster as a catcher, Barnes made the switch to second base when J.T. Realmuto came back from Miami, helping the Suns have two outsanding hitting prospects in the lineup each game.

Chris Hatcher spent parts of three seasons in Jacksonville from 2009-2011 in one of the most interesting careers in franchise history. After helping the Suns win the Southern League championship in 2009, Hatcher provided Suns fans with one of the most memorable moments in Jacksonville baseball history in 2010, as his 9th inning homer clinched a second-straight league title for the Suns.

Hatcher then made his Marlins debut behind the plate to finish the 2010 season, but he had a different look when he came back to Jacksonville in 2011. He and the Marlins decided that his best fit would be as a pitcher, and Hatcher was a 2011 Southern League All-Star going 2-1 with a 1.90 ERA in 42 appearances for the Suns. He made it back to the Marlins that season as a pitcher, and has been back-and-forth between New Orleans and Miami the past three seasons.

Hernandez never saw playing time with Jacksonville after being traded to the Marlins last July from the Astros.

The players the Marlins received from the Dodgers all have spent time in the Southern League. Haren pitched for the Tennessee Smokies when they were a Cardinals affiliate in 2003, Gordon was with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2010, and Rojas has suited up the Carolina Mudcats, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, and Lookouts in his career.

We’ll have more coverage on former Suns on the move later this week.


#MarlinsMonday – December 8, 2014

San Diego is the host of the 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Today begins one of the busiest weeks of the offseason, as the baseball world gathers for the 2014 Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Here front office executives will meet and discuss potential trades in person, free agents will be courted, and minor league front offices will prepare and get ideas for the 2015 season ahead.

As always the Suns have a contingent of executives at the Winter Meetings, and we’ll get a report later this week on what they saw here and on jaxsuns.com.

The Marlins are expected to be busy in San Diego, looking to add more pieces to an already talented roster and give Giancarlo Stanton more support. Pitching is always a priority, but Miami will also be aggressive in making sure the roster is ready to compete for a playoff spot in 2015.

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, stay tuned for big news all week from San Diego!

Marlins.com: Active Marlins could remain busy at Winter Meetings
Marlins.com: Marlins willing to part with pitching if deal is right
Sun Sentinel: Marlins not in rush on deals for Fernandez, Yelich, others
Fish Stripes: Marlins 2014 Winter Meetings Primer
MiLB.com: Job seekers to write journals on San Diego journeys
MiLB.com: Winter Meetings set to begin down in San Diego
Yahoo! Big League Stew: 10 storylines to watch this week at MLB’s Winter Meetings
The New York Times: Baseball’s Annual Winter Meetings Have It All, Except Quietude
ESPN: Dynamic’ Cash gets call as Rays manager

#MarlinsMonday – December 1, 2014

Aaron Crow is the newest member of the Marlins organization. Photo Courtesy: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your families!

The Miami Marlins stayed busy throughout the end of last week, making a “Black Friday” trade of their own, as the Marlins traded former Suns pitchers Brian Flynn and Reid Redman to the Kansas City Royals for right-handed pitcher Aaron Crow.

Crow was used out of the bullpen last season for Kansas City, and was an American League All-Star as a rookie in 2011. He has started before, and the Marlins haven’t ruled out the possibility that Crow could work his way into the rotation during Spring Training.

The Marlins also signed former Montgomery Biscuits utility player Reid Brignac to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, and he could work himself into the role that Ed Lucas, who was claimed by the Rangers earlier in the offseason, had for the past two seasons in Miami.

Here are the rest of the news items of note for the Marlins and baseball from the weekend, enjoy your #MarlinsMonday!

Marlins.com: Marlins acquire righty Crow from Royals
Marlins.com: Brignac joins group of Marlins’ non-roster invitees
Marlins.com: Marlins seek lefty balance in lineup, on mound
Sun Sentinel:Miami Marlins broadcasters Rich Waltz, Tommy Hutton panned by Sporting News
Fish Stripes: Marlins linked to Allen Craig
Ballpark Digest: Tis the season for baseball books, part II
Yahoo! Big League Stew: O’s Tommy Hunter goes undercover working at team store
MLB.com: Cyber Monday sale offers big savings
The New York Times: No Disguising It: Red Sox Are Eyeing a Title Run


Welcome to the Biloxi Shuckers

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Southern League’s newest franchise unveiled its name and logo on Monday night, as the “Biloxi Shuckers” were formally introduced to the gulf region and the baseball world.

The Shuckers are the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, and moved to Biloxi from Huntsville after the 2014 season came to a close.

The Suns and Shuckers are scheduled to meet for the first time next April, as it appears Jacksonville will be the first visitor to MGM Park in Biloxi.

For more information on the newest Southern League club, here is their official news release, and welcome Shuckers!

The new Biloxi professional baseball team revealed their identity today as the Biloxi Shuckers took center stage during a ceremony inside Biloxi’s historic Saenger Theatre. The Shuckers will begin play in the Southern League next April as the new Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

“We are very excited to introduce our name and logos to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” stated Shuckers President Ken Young. “The anticipation in the community has been tremendous. Our logo depicts the fun and exciting atmosphere that Minor League Baseball is known for throughout this country. We think that kids are going to love it. The seafood industry is so important to the entire region, and we wanted a name that meant something to the community.”

The team name was selected after nearly 60,000 votes were cast after the month-long “Name the Team” contest yielded six finalists. The Shuckers will host a separate event to select the winner of the “Name the Team” contest.

A tenacious oyster is the centerpiece of the identity, seen both in the club’s primary logo, home and alternate caps. The letters “BS” to make up the road cap designation. Fans will love seeing the Biloxi Lighthouse logo, resiliently rising above historic storm waters. Gulf Blue, Sand, Coral, and Black make up the club’s new official colors, paying tribute to the Gulf Coast. The Shuckers are the first professional sports team to use this color combination. The logos and color scheme will be seen throughout the home of the Shuckers, MGM Park.

Official Shuckers merchandise is available immediately at the Shuckers Team Store, which is located inside the Biloxi Coast Transit Authority Building at 820 MLK Jr. Blvd, Suite B. There is also a tremendous selection of merchandise available on the Shuckers’ official website, www.biloxishuckers.com.

The Shuckers will unveil their new uniforms for the 2015 season at a later date.

In addition to the Shuckers website, the Shuckers can also be followed on Twitter (@biloxishuckers) and Facebook (Biloxi Shuckers).

The Shuckers’ look was brought to life by Brandiose, an industry leader in team identity creation. The development process began in March when Brandiose’s partners Jason Klein and Casey White met in Biloxi with fans, staff and community members to learn about the stories, history, and personality of Biloxi. Brandiose developed the logos and is dreaming up elements of new fan experience.

“Biloxi is one of the most resilient cities in America,” said Klein. “Our goal is to integrate Biloxi folklore in the Shuckers brand, and to create the most legendary entertainment experience on the Gulf Coast.”