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Miami hopes for home advantage with Mesas

Club will host workout for brothers from Cuba and RHP Gaston on Friday
October 4, 2018

MIAMI -- The Marlins are hoping that Marlins Park gives them a homefield advantage when it comes to signing Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr. And the organization hasn't ruled out also landing right-hander Sandy Gaston.Major League Baseball recently declared all three free agents,

MIAMI -- The Marlins are hoping that Marlins Park gives them a homefield advantage when it comes to signing Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr. And the organization hasn't ruled out also landing right-hander Sandy Gaston.
Major League Baseball recently declared all three free agents, and on Friday they will participate in a showcase at Marlins Park in which all 30 clubs are invited.
The workout is not open to the media nor the public.
The Marlins have made no secret that they are particularly interested in the Mesa brothers, and there is a chance the club may also sign Gaston. They're also looking to be more active in the international market.

"We're the Miami Marlins and our stadium is in Little Havana," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Miami is the gateway to the Americas, and it just made so much sense to everyone to host this workout."
The Marlins are using Miami's diversity and the fact it has a large Cuban community to help attract players born in Latin America.
This year, the Marlins also have the financial resources to make major international signings. They have $4.3 million in international bonus pool money. Only the Orioles, with $6.7 million, have more.
Because the three have been cleared as free agents, they can sign at any time.
Under the directive of Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter, the Marlins have invested more resources into their international operations. They are in the process of making significant upgrades to their facility in the Dominican Republic and, in about a week, they will conduct an instructional league camp for their Minor Leaguers in the Dominican Republic that will run until Thanksgiving.
"In the past, our international budgets really weren't where we needed to be," Hill said. "We didn't maximize that area of talent acquisitions. It's something that, under new ownership, they understand that international talent -- all talent -- is important when you're trying to build a championship organization, and we're going to leave no stone unturned."
Victor Victor Mesa, 22, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 1 international prospect, and Gaston is No. 16.

Mesa played on Cuba's 2017 World Baseball Classic club. Mesa Jr., 17, was a standout outfielder on the Cuban 18U national team. Their father, Victor Mesa Sr., played nearly two decades on the Cuban national team, and he's been a long-time manager on the island.
Gaston, 16, is a right-hander who throws 97 mph.
The Marlins have a few homegrown international signings on their current roster. Most notable is right-hander Jose Urena, their 2018 Opening Day starter.
From the Dominican Republic, Urena signed with the Marlins in 2008, and he says he has a comfort level playing in South Florida.
"Fans support you, like when we have the Heritage Days," Urena said. "You see the crowds they have for those games. It's a special game for them, so they show up."

Miguel Rojas, from Venezuela, was traded to the Marlins from the Dodgers after the 2014 season. The veteran infielder makes South Florida his home year-round, and he sees a benefit in targeting players from Latin America.
"I have my family close to Miami," Rojas said. "There's a lot of the same culture we grew up with in Venezuela now in Miami. You feel like you're at home. That's why I feel like the more Latin players we can have in Miami, it's even better for the organization. I feel it will be more impactful in the community, too."

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