Former Suns involved in Marlins-Dodgers Trade

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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.

 

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