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Marlins deal prospect to Reds, clear int'l money

Right-hander Lillie on move as Miami eyes Cuban trio
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- On Saturday, the Marlins announced a Minor League trade that could have major implications in their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-hander Ryan Lillie, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, to the Reds for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money.

MIAMI -- On Saturday, the Marlins announced a Minor League trade that could have major implications in their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-hander Ryan Lillie, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, to the Reds for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money.

Video: Top Prospects: Ryan Lillie, RHP, Marlins

The Marlins have strong interest in signing the two Mesa brothers and Gaston, who were recently declared free agents by Major League Baseball. The three worked out Friday in front of about 75 scouts at Marlins Park.

All 30 big league clubs were invited to Friday's showcase, which lasted about three hours. Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and Victor Jr., 17, are both outfielders, and Gaston is a hard-throwing 16-year-old right-hander, whose fastball maxed out at 97 mph during the workout.

Trading Lillie boosts the Marlins' international bonus pool allotment, which was $4.3 million before the trade. Only the Orioles at $6.7 million have more bonus money than Miami.

The Marlins are also exploring other trades for additional international bonus money.

The Marlins have repeatedly stated that they intend to be aggressive in the Latin American market. With Miami's large Cuban-community, the club is targeting additional Cuban prospects and selling to them the advantages of living and playing in South Florida.

After Friday's workout, the Mesa brothers and Gaston sent out photos via their social media platforms wearing Marlins uniforms and caps.

Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter and other top club executives dined with the three Cuban prospects Friday.

Victor Victor Mesa played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for Cuba, and his younger brother was on Cuba's 18-under national team.

Lillie, 22, pitched at three levels in 2018 -- combining for a 3.44 ERA in 22 starts. He spent most of the season at Class A Greensboro, going 6-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 80 1/3 innings. The right-hander who attended the University of California-Riverside, also made seven starts at Class A Advanced Jupiter, with a 4.93 ERA in 34 2/3 innings.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

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