#FishFriday – January 22, 2016

#FishFriday

Dee Gordon at his contract extension press conference with President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill and Marlins President David Samson. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins had a busy week as the roster gets closer to being ready for Spring Training.

One of the biggest offseason priorities for Miami was locking down second baseman Dee Gordon to a new contract, and now the 2015 National League batting champion will continue to wear Marlins colors.

Gordon signed a five-year, $50 million dollar deal with the Marlins, and his new contract was introduced at Marlins Park at a press conference on Monday.

The Marlins also welcomed the press back to the ballpark on Tuesday, after signing a five-year contract with left-handed starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. In four years with the Baltimore Orioles, the 30-year-old is 46-32 with a 3.72 ERA, plus went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA in 31 starts last season.

Chen helps bolster the Marlins rotation, which should include ace Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart, and then there will be healthy competition for the fifth starter role in Spring Training.

 

It’s also a sad week in the Marlins organization, as one of the best writers in the history of the club has passed away.

Sun Sentinel Marlins beat reporter Juan C. Rodriguez passed away on Monday at the age of 42 after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

His Sun Sentinel colleague Dave Hyde wrote a beautiful tribute to him here.

Juan always cared about what was going on in the Marlins farm system, and kept a close eye on the Jacksonville Suns over the past few years. I helped him get in contact with some Suns players for his stories and we always had a good dialogue about how the Suns were doing.

He will be dearly missed, and thoughts and prayers with his family, friends, and coworkers during this time.

Earlier this week I got to spend some time in Jacksonville in between announcing a JU game on Monday and Alabama’s game at Florida last night. The front office has really taken shape as the countdown is on for Opening Day 2016 (officially 76 days away!).

I also got to sit in on the promotions meeting Wednesday afternoon, and I can promise the fans that a lot of exciting changes are coming to the Baseball Grounds!

Also don’t forget that you can have Southpaw help make your Valentine’s Day extra memorable this year:

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Here are today’s #FishFriday links, have a great weekend!

Marlins.com: Marlins introduce left-hander Chen
Marlins.com: Marlins make 5-year deal with Dee official
MLB.com: Justice: Miami’s fate tied to slugger, ace
Miami Herald: Greg Cote: Trusting Marlins isn’t easy, but smart offseason and sense of direction create hope
Miami Herald: Marlins avoid salary arbitration with Jose Fernandez, sign all eight eligible players
Sun Sentinel: Marlins Park fences being moved, lowered; will still favor pitchers
Fish Stripes: Marlins Pitch F/X Scouting Report: Wei-Yin Chen
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Hot Stove Digest: The Nationals are back in on Yoenis Cespedes
Fox Sports: Big issues that must be addressed before pitchers and catchers report
Bleacher Report: The Road to MLB: Hard and Long for Players, Harder and Longer for Broadcasters
The New York Times: Reds’ Hall of Fame Will Induct Pete Rose

#MarlinsMonday – January 11, 2016

Marlins Monday

Suns manager David Berg. Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover.

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

Last Friday the Miami Marlins announced the Jacksonville Suns field staff for the 2016 season, with years of Double-A experience highlighting manager David Berg’s staff.

The 2016 Suns Field Staff:

Manager: David Berg
Hitting Coach: Rich Arena
Pitching Coach: Storm Davis
Coach: John Pachot
Trainer: Cesar Roman
Strength & Conditioning: Robert Reichert
Video Assistant: Keanan Lamb

Berg expressed his excitement for the upcoming season on his Twitter account @DavidBergie.

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The Suns also had a busy weekend at the Baseball Grounds, hosting a Food and Beverage job fair on Saturday that will bring many new employees to help Suns fans each night.

In addition to the Suns, the Marlins announced the staffs for each minor league team on Friday, and some former Suns coaches will be in new spots for 2016. After guiding a talented Suns pitching staff in 2015, Derek Botelho will be the pitching coach for Triple-A New Orleans this year. He replaces John Duffy in that role in New Orleans, and Duffy is now the rehab pitching coordinator for the Marlins. Duffy was Suns pitching coach from 2010-14, winning a pair of Southern League titles.

Former Suns player and hitting coach Kevin Randel is back in Greensboro for his second year as Grasshoppers manager, and will be joined by hitting coach Rigoberto Silverio, who served as an extra coach for the Suns in April 2015.

Most discussion for the major league Marlins surrounds Marcel Ozuna, and whether or not he will be in the Miami outfield this summer. The latest reports say that the Marlins are listening to offers on the 2013 Sun, but there is a chance he will remain a Marlin this season.

Here are today’s #MarlinsMonday links, enjoy watching the College Football National Championship Game tonight (maybe root for my other employer the Crimson Tide!).

News 4 JAX: Harold Craw has big plans as GM of Suns
Jacksonville Business Journal: How Ken Babby is taking the Jacksonville Suns into a new phase
The Florida Times-Union: David Berg returns as Jacksonville Suns manager
Marlins.com: Marlins announce player development moves
Marlins.com: Does Ozuna hold key to controllable starter?
Marlins.com: Inbox: Can Marlins lock up Gordon long term?
Fish Stripes: Miami Marlins rumors: Interested in Chen, Sierra
Palm Beach Post: Nationals hire ex-Marlins manager, GM Jennings to help Rizzo
Yahoo! Big League Stew: Hot Stove Digest: NL team making push to acquire R.A. Dickey
ESPN:Olney: Mets boast baseball’s best rotation, but who’s No. 2?
Fox Sports: Marlins don’t want to go to bat with Dee Gordon on this one
The New York Times:With Two Homers, Emotions Go Deep for Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza

 

Suns Announce 2016 Field Staff

Breaking News

David Berg returns to manage the Suns in 2016. Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, announced on Friday that David Berg will return to Jacksonville to serve as the club’s manager for the 2016 season. Rejoining Berg from his 2015 field staff will be hitting coach Rich Arena, coach John Pachot, and athletic trainer Cesar Roman. New to the staff in 2016 are pitching coach and Jacksonville native Storm Davis, strength and conditioning coach Robert Reichert, and video assistant Keanan Lamb.

In Berg’s first season as Jacksonville manager in 2015, five Suns received call-ups to the major league Miami Marlins, and seven players were named 2015 Southern League Midseason All-Stars.

“I’m excited to head back to Jacksonville,” Berg said.  “Our staff is excited to work with the Suns new owner Mr. Babby along with his front office to see the fan experience continue to improve at the Baseball Grounds. Suns fans are very passionate and knowledgeable about the game, and I’m excited for this all to come together in a few months.”

Berg is in his seventh season in the Marlins organization. Prior to 2015 in Jacksonville he spent two of the previous three seasons as manager for the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers. In 2014, Greensboro finished the year with an 87-53 record, tied for first in the division and earned a playoff berth. He spent the 2013 season as the Marlins minor league infield coordinator after leading Greensboro to the South Atlantic League Championship series in 2012. Berg began managing in the Marlins system for the Jamestown Jammers in 2010. As a player, Berg was selected by the Marlins out of the University of Miami in the 38th round of the 1993 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut for the Marlins on April 2, 1998 and he became the lowest-ever draft pick by the franchise to reach the Major Leagues. Berg hit a career best .313 average for the Marlins in 1998. Following the 2001 season, Berg signed with Toronto where he played for three seasons.

Davis, a graduate of University Christian High School and a Jacksonville resident in the offseason, is in his first season in the Marlins organization after spending the previous four years as a pitching coach in the Chicago Cubs organization. He spent the past two years in the Southern League as the pitching coach for the Tennessee Smokies, and was the High-A Daytona Cubs pitching coach in 2013. Davis was also the pitching coach for the Single-A Hickory Crawdads from 2011-12. Davis has also coached in Jacksonville before, serving two stints as the head baseball coach at The Bolles School from 1997-2001 and 2008-09. Davis pitched in the Major Leagues for 13 seasons from 1982-94, and was a member of three World Series clubs, including the Baltimore Orioles (1983) and Oakland Athletics (1989). In total he posted a 113-96 record and 4.02 ERA over 442 games (239 starts) in the Major Leagues.

Arena enters his fourth season working with the Suns and his fifth overall with the Marlins organization. After serving as the Suns third base coach and working with Suns hitters in 2013 and 2014, Arena took over the hitting coach role for 2015. Arena has coached notable Miami Marlins such as Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, and Derek Dietrich during his time in Jacksonville. Arena spent the 2012 season as the hitting coach for the Jamestown Jammers. Before getting back into affiliated coaching, Arena worked at Team One Management from 2010-11 and coached as his alma mater, Tampa (Fla.) Catholic High School, from 2007-09. He spent the previous 10 years as a scout and coach in the New York Yankees minor league system.

Pachot (pronounced pah-showt), who played in Jacksonville during the Suns’ 2001 Southern League championship season, returns to Jacksonville for his second season as Suns coach. Pachot played 19 years professionally from 1993 to 2011 at all levels of the minor leagues and for several independent leagues as well. In 46 games with the Suns in 2001, he hit .243 with four home runs and 22 RBI.

Roman is in his 10th year overall as a trainer in the Marlins organization and this will be his third season in Jacksonville. Before the Marlins, he worked in the Texas Rangers organization (2003-06). He served as an athletic trainer in the World Baseball Classic for Team Puerto Rico in 2009 and 2013 and for Team Panama in 2006.

Reichert joins the Suns after spending the past three seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Marlins organization. Reichert has been in the Marlins organization since 2012, and has also assisted players with Triple-A New Orleans and the rookie level Gulf Coast League Marlins. Reichert graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science.

Lamb is in his first season in the Marlins organization. He spent last season as a minor league video assistant in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Lamb is a 2014 graduate of the University of Oregon.

ABOUT THE SUNS: A new era of affordable family fun will dawn on the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Opening Day, April 7, 2016, with the Jacksonville Suns under new ownership. The Suns have already unveiled a new lineup of ticket packages for the upcoming season, and you can get part of the action by calling the Suns at (904) 358-2846 or visiting www.jaxsuns.com.