Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: Will Marlins make run at Cuban star?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers questions from fans
September 19, 2018

Percentage-wise, what do you think the chances are that the Marlins will sign Victor Victor Mesa? -- @dpHEAT3I don't know about percentages, but I do know the Marlins have serious interest, and I wouldn't be surprised if they signed the coveted outfielder from Cuba. Financially, Miami is well positioned to

Percentage-wise, what do you think the chances are that the Marlins will sign Victor Victor Mesa?
-- @dpHEAT3

I don't know about percentages, but I do know the Marlins have serious interest, and I wouldn't be surprised if they signed the coveted outfielder from Cuba. Financially, Miami is well positioned to make a serious offer to Mesa, 22, and his brother, Victor Mesa, 17. The two are outfielders who were declared free agents on Friday, as MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported. The Marlins have $4.3 million of international bonus pool money, which puts them in a strong spot to make a serious offer. Only Baltimore, with $6.7 million, has a higher international allocation.
Still, the Marlins may have an advantage, because it may come down to where Mesa feels is the best fit. Miami, of course, has a large Cuban community, and the organization is aiming to be more proactive on the international market. Without question, signing Mesa and his brother would be popular moves.
:: Submit a question to the Marlins Inbox ::
How do you feel about Lewis Brinson? I feel he has star power potential.
-- @DFPuron

Since Brinson came off the disabled list on Sept. 1, he has shown signs that he could be an impactful everyday center fielder. We're not going to completely see it reflected by his final numbers, when you consider his season slash line is .201/.241/.350 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs. More than the overall numbers, there is optimism based on Brinson's improvement and natural abilities. In September, he's hitting .271 with eight RBIs. We're seeing adjustments to go along with a strong work ethic and tremendous makeup.
I don't think Brinson will be a perennial .300-caliber hitter, but he could realistically be in the .250-.270 range with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs while playing Gold Glove Award-caliber defense. To get there, he clearly must improve against secondary pitches. According to Statcast™, Brinson is batting .249 off all fastballs but just .139 off breaking pitches.
Is it true the Marlins' Triple-A team is moving to Wichita?
-- @jonerik0619

Nothing is official, but early in September, public officials in Wichita, Kansas, announced the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes would be moving to a renovated stadium in Wichita that will open in 2020. It's also been reported that the Baby Cakes put in a request to either relocate or move in '20. So barring something changing, it is shaping up that '19 will be the final year Miami's Triple-A affiliate will play in New Orleans. Another affiliation change is expected at low Class A. The Marlins appear to be breaking ties with Greensboro, and they're looking for another location in the South Atlantic League.
Will it be likely that the 2019 will be a season the Marlins' pitching shows improvements? If so, do you see Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers, the 2016 and '17 first-round picks, being a factor?
-- @giry_and_joe

Let's start with Garrett and Rogers, ranked Nos. 9 and 10, respectively, on Miami's Top 30 Prospect List according to MLB Pipeline. Garrett is rebounding from Tommy John surgery, and he is in the Marlins' instructional league. So he's a few years away. Rogers made 17 starts in Class A Greensboro and showed promise, and he could open at Class A Advanced Jupiter next year. He, too, is a few years away from being in the big leagues.
The 2019 rotation looks to be promising, with Jose Urena, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Richards expected to compete for Opening Day spots. It's up in the air if Dan Straily, who could be traded, will return. If not, left-hander Caleb Smith, who underwent surgery to repair a torn left pec muscle, is expected to be back. Whether he is ready on Opening Day remains questionable. But he should contribute at some point. Elieser Hernandez also is a rotation candidate.
The prospect Miami fans should keep an eye on is Nick Neidert, acquired from Seattle in the Dee Gordon trade. Neidert, who turns 22 in November, is ranked as the Marlins' No. 3 prospect. He likely will move up to No. 2 or even No. 1 with Alcantara graduating off the list. Neidert was a standout at Double-A Jacksonville and could start off at Triple-A New Orleans before breaking into the big leagues. He profiles as a solid No. 3 starter.
Will the Marlins trade for a proven closer?
-- @Athletics89

Obviously, the struggles the Marlins have had in the ninth inning makes this a legitimate question. But pursuing a high-price free-agent closer isn't something you normally see from teams in a building process. I anticipate the team will look from within or perhaps make a trade that could include a candidate to close. As disappointing as Kyle Barraclough has been, you can't dismiss that he was really good in the first half. Rookie Drew Steckenrider has gotten a taste of closing, and left-hander Adam Conley is adjusting to being in the bullpen. Tayron Guerrero is the one of the hardest-throwing relievers in the game, but he's also a rookie. Guerrero is going to need a secondary pitch to give hitters something else to look for, perhaps a changeup could be the answer. Also remember, the current group of relievers are either rookies or they're about to enter their first season of arbitration. So they're still young.

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