It won’t be a case of “wait ‘til next year” when it comes to putting the Marlins’ new uniforms to their first on-field test.
Some of the team’s top minor-league prospects are expected to be wearing the new threads Saturday in the championship game of the Arizona Fall League.
That is, as long as they get there in time for the 3 p.m. (EST) start.
Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations, said the team is hopeful the new uniforms — which were unveiled Thursday — make it to Arizona in time for the AFL title game.
“That’s the plan, to have them represent the Marlins in our new uniforms,” Hill said.
The Marlins unveiled a new logo, colors and uniforms on Thursday as part of a franchise re-branding effort under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The new merchandise went on sale Friday.
But rather than wait for the start of spring training in February to roll out the new uniforms in a game setting, the Marlins decided to get them on the field for the first time Saturday. They did the same thing in 2011, the last time they came out with all new colors and a new logo.
“We coordinated it the same way,” Hill said. “We did it earlier in the Fall League [in 2011], so we had time to make sure they got manufactured before their season ended. A little bit later this time. But that’s still the plan.”
The Marlins have several of their top prospects playing for the Salt River Rafters, who will face the Peoria Javelinas in the title game. One of them, pitcher Jordan Yamamoto, is scheduled to start Saturday for the Rafters. Yamamoto and outfielder Monte Harrison, who is also on the Rafters, were acquired from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade.
The Marlins are expected to place both players on their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft in December.
Saturday’s game will be televised live on MLB Network and MLB.com.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Even with the signing of Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa and the haul of minor-league players the Marlins have received in trades over the past year, they still don’t have a player ranked among the Top 100 prospects by MLB Pipeline.
Nonetheless, Hill said the Marlins’ farm system is in much better shape now than it was before.
“We’ve come incredibly far,” Hill said. “When you think about the upper-level pitching that we can talk about, that’s Major League ready. We saw Pablo [Lopez] make it. We saw Sandy [Alcantara] make it — Zac Gallen and Nick Neidert and Jorge Guzman and Jordan Yamamoto and Edward Cabrera and Robert Dugger. We didn’t have any of those players this time last year. I firmly believe the depth of our starting pitching is what’s going to speed up our return to competitiveness and playoff games and winning championships.”
▪ Hill said he sent a text message congratulating Christian Yelich after the former Marlin was named National League MVP on Thursday. Yelich became the second straight former draft pick of the Marlins to win the MVP award. Giancarlo Stanton, now with the Yankees, won it last year as a Marlin.
“We always knew the talent that he was,” Hill said of Yelich.
Despite the accomplishments, Hill defended the trades of the two players, saying the Marlins failed to win even when both were on the team due to a lack of depth.
“You just think about the deficiencies the roster had,” Hill said. “You had very productive players — back-to-back MVPs — yet we couldn’t get over the hump because we didn’t have enough depth and we weren’t built the right way.”
The Marlins never had a winning season while Yelich and Stanton were with the team.
▪ In conjunction with their brand launch, the Marlins announced Friday that they have donated $170,000 to Miami-Dade County Parks for the renovation of four baseball fields at Tropical Park. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Monday