Category Archives: Cheap Marlins Jerseys

Antonio Alfonseca Jersey

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MIAMI (July 25, 2019) — FOX Sports Florida, the exclusive television home of the Miami Marlins, will premiere an all-new episode of “Inside the Marlins” on Sunday, July 28, upon conclusion of Miami’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Sunday debut of “Inside the Marlins: Youth Baseball and Softball” features host Kelly Saco providing viewers with a look at the Marlins efforts to help grow the sports at all age levels in South Florida.

The show features interviews with Marlins executives, including Senior Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations Elisa Padilla, Senior Director of Youth Baseball Angela Smith and Manager of Youth Baseball Jamal Knibbs. Fans will hear from local baseball and softball coaches, players and parents, and current Marlins and team alumni about the opportunities the team offers for children to learn the game. The show goes in-depth on the RBI program, which supplies equipment and provides free access for boys and girls to play, from tee-ball level all the way up to older teens playing softball and baseball.

Also on this episode of “Inside the Marlins,” FOX Sports Florida’s cameras were rolling at a pair of baseball and softball clinics at Marlins Park that featured Marlins teammates Nick Anderson, César Puello and José Quijada, in addition to former Marlins Alex Gonzalez, Alex Arias and Antonio Alfonseca. Saco, a former NCAA softball player at Syracuse University, also participated in teaching at the softball clinic, with an emphasis on pitching fundamentals. Rounding out the show is a look at the Pitch, Hit & Run competition at Marlins Park. Local kids competed for a chance to achieve national recognition at the MLB All-Star Week festivities. Representing the Marlins in Cleveland was 12-year-old Brady Blanks of Jupiter, who won first place nationally in his age division.

Watch “Inside the Marlins: Youth Baseball and Softball” Sunday afternoon on FOX Sports Florida and FOX Sports GO, and be sure to follow @FOXMarlins on Twitter and Instagram for exclusive Marlins content.
Replay Schedule:

Sun 07/28/19
4:30 PM
Mon 07/29/19 6 PM
Wed 07/31/19 6 PM
Sat 08/03/19 9:30 PM
Sun 08/04/19 4:30 PM
Tue 08/06/19 3:30 AM
Wed 08/07/19 7 PM
Sat 08/10/19 9:30 PM
Tue 08/13/19 10:30 PM
Wed 08/14/19 6 PM
Sat 08/17/19 4 AM
Mon 08/19/19 7:30 PM
Tue 08/20/19 6 PM
Fri 08/23/19 10:30 PM
Sat 08/24/19 9:30 PM
Tue 08/27/19 6 PM
Thu 08/29/19 5:30 PM
About FOX Sports Florida / FOX SPORTS SUN

FOX Sports Florida & FOX Sports Sun are the regional television homes of the Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Heat, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. The regional sports networks have been fixtures in the homes of sports fans throughout the Sunshine State for over 30 years. Today, the networks combine to produce more than 700 live sporting events and over 300 studio based and original programs year round. FOX Sports Florida and FOX Sports Sun are committed to making a positive impact in the communities we serve by engaging our audiences and providing award-winning TV and web coverage of Florida’s hometown sports teams. For more information, channel listings and how you can get involved with FOX Sports Florida / FOX Sports Sun, visit

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With all the fires and blackouts going on, Californians may have missed a major legislative milestone last month. As NBC News reports, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law “banning hotels from giving guests plastic bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner or soap.” The measure takes effect in 2023 for hotels with more than 50 rooms and 2024 for hotels with less than 50 rooms. Violators could be fined $500 for a first offense and $2,000 for subsequent violations.

Contrary to what backers of the law appear to imagine, California is not the first to impose such a ban.

In 2014, ESPN showed “Brothers in Exile,” a program about Cuban baseball players Livan Hernandez and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who starred with the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees. Before his defection from the Communist state, Livan traveled abroad with the Cuban national team. As Peter Bjarkman of the Society for American Baseball Research noted in his review, the ESPN show charted “the repressive treatment of Cuban players by their own state security and repeated bans on carrying home even simple items like hotel toiletries.” So there is a precedent for California’s ban on hotel shampoo bottles.

Assembly Bill 1162, by San Jose Democrat Ash Kalra, will harm manufacturers, inconvenience travelers, and do little if anything to improve the environment or personal hygiene. On that theme, the streets of San Francisco, where Gavin Newsom served as mayor, now boast record levels of excrement. That drives away tourists, deters business, and poses serious problems for public health.
K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.
Posts by K. Lloyd Billingsley | Full Biography and Publications

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When the Miami Marlins formally declined their club option on Starlin Castro last week, they also reinstated four players from the 60-day IL. One of those was JT Riddle, who may have some input on what he should be paid in 2020.

Riddle is part of a group of 23 MLB players who are now eligible for salary arbitration thanks to their so-called Super Two status. As dictated by Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the top 22% of players between two and three years of service time are arb eligible. With this class, that cut-off was two years and 115 days of service (abbreviated as 2.115). The benefit to players is that the Super Two puts them on track for as many as four arb raises—rather than the usual three—before qualifying for free agency.

Riddle (2.118) joins right-hander José Urená (4.040) and left-hander Adam Conley (3.147) in the 2020 Marlins arbitration class. Lefty reliever Jarlin Garcia (2.114) narrowly missed Super Two status.

The 28-year-old Riddle, who debuted near the beginning of 2017, became the starting shortstop for the Marlins mid-way through that season when they traded Adeiny Hechavarria to the Tampa Bay Rays. While he has a career batting average of .229 and 18 career home runs in 718 plate appearances, he provides defensive value and versatility, as shown by the fact that he made 31 appearances in center field.

Injuries limited Riddle to 85 games (51 with the Marlins, 34 in the minors). His latest trip to the IL was due to a right forearm strain.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Riddle to make $900k in arbitration this offseason. His 2019 salary was $560k, so an agreement by the Jan. 10 deadline is not a high-risk move.

However, the Marlins will be bringing Miguel Rojas back next season. Rojas hit .284 in 132 games in 2019, establishing himself as a solid everyday shortstop, which is the position that Riddle has spent most of his pro career developing at. Further complicating matters, the former 13th-round draft pick is coming off his least effective offensive campaign and out of minor league options.

For the moment, there is room for Riddle on the 40-man roster. But that could change in the coming weeks as the Marlins prepare for the Rule 5 Draft. They have five openings on the roster and as many as seven key prospects worth protecting. That will force difficult decisions.

While his pay raise would be somewhat minimal, it is in the best interest of the Marlins to let Riddle have a fresh start for another organization. Keeping their next wave of young talent intact and shopping for more established infielders in free agency—such as José Iglesias, Didi Gregorius, or Howie Kendrick—will better suit their needs for 2020 and beyond.

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Here’s a look back at the draft history (MLB draft began in 1965) from the Journal & Courier’s coverage area:


Mark Strader, Lafayette Jeff, Round 6, Minnesota Twins

The former Broncho catcher played three seasons in the minors for the Twins with a career batting average of .246, nine home runs and 74 RBIs.


Gregg Boehning, Lafayette Jeff, Round 29, Chicago White Sox

After helping coach Paul “Spider” Fields’ club win the 1969 state title, Boehning was selected as a lefty pitcher. He played one season in rookie ball for the White Sox, going 6-1 with a 2.55 ERA.


Donald Leslie, Lafayette Jeff, Round 9, Detroit Tigers

Like Boehning two years earlier, Leslie played just one year in the minors as a pitcher. He went 2-3 with a 7.63 ERA.


Kevin Sims, Lafayette Jeff, Round 31, Pittsburgh Pirates

Sims never played professionally. He later became a high school basketball coach and is currently the athletic director at Delphi.


Donald Pearson, Delphi, Round 13, New York Mets

Pearson advanced all the way to Triple-A but never made it to the big leagues. He compiled a career record of 31-45 with an ERA of 4.28 over five seasons.


Rich Stoll, Attica, Round 1, Montreal Expos

After a standout career at the University of Michigan, the Expos (now Washington Nationals) made Stoll their top draft choice in 1983. He never made it to Canada, pitching five seasons in the minors, including three in Indianapolis. Stoll compiled a 36-33 record with an ERA of 3.77. His jersey still hangs in the hall outside of the basketball gymnasium at Attica.


Rico Rossy, Frontier, Round 33, Baltimore Orioles

Rossy played at Purdue and lived the Minor League life for seven years before he got the call-up with the Atlanta Braves in 1991. He pitched with the Kansas City Royals the next two seasons before another long stint in the minors. After keeping his suitcases packed during Triple-A stints for the Royals, Padres, Expos and Mariners affiliates, he showed why so many former big leaguers continue to cling to the game in minor league baseball when he was called up in 1998, five years after his last MLB stint, as a Seattle Mariner. Rossy had 67 career hits in 147 games in the Majors.


Brian Goodwin, Frankfort, Round 38, Toronto Blue Jays

Goodwin elected to play junior college baseball instead of embarking on a pro career.


Kevin Tyson, Lafayette Jeff, Round 4, Atlanta Braves

Tyson played two seasons of rookie ball, hitting .161 with one career home run and 10 RBIs.


Bernard Doyle, North Newton, Round 24, Boston Red Sox

Doyle played two seasons in rookie ball, totaling 46 games. He hit .222 with seven doubles.


Brian Goodwin, Frankfort, Round 46, California Angels

After foregoing a pro career two years earlier, Goodwin was drafted eight rounds later after junior college. He never played professionally.


Jamie Sailors, Frontier, Round 13, St. Louis Cardinals

Sailors’ season at Parkland College caught the eye of the Cardinals. He pitched two years in the minors, compiling three wins and 160 strikeouts in 174 innings. He later became a high school football coach and athletic director.
Todd Dunwoody

Todd Dunwoody (Photo: AP photo)


Todd Dunwoody, Harrison, Round 7, Florida Marlins

After his outstanding high school career ended — and before he made these awesome Mike Raisor commercials — Dunwoody played 13 seasons of pro baseball, including six in the Majors. He was a member of the 1997 World Series champion Marlins and also played for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. Dunwoody hit .233 in the Major Leagues with his best season coming in 1998 when he hit .251 with 27 doubles, seven triples and five homers in Miami.


Prenenyer Rodriguez, McCutcheon, Round 40, Houston Astros

Rodriguez was drafted but never played professionally.


Josh Loggins, Harrison, Round 7, Pittsburgh Pirates

Part of an unbelievably talented group of Harrison Raiders, Loggins was the first draftee among the 1995 state championship team (one class). That wasn’t enough to lure him into the minor leagues as he elected to play college baseball.


Jake Chapman, Rensselaer, Round 38, Minnesota Twins

Chapman returned to St. Joseph’s College after being a late pick of the Twins.


B.J. Schlicher, North Montgomery, Round 7, Philadelphia Phillies

The talented quarterback from the Chargers’ glory days (Mr. Football runner-up) also was an outstanding baseball player who was taken highly out of high school. He played two seasons at Rookie League Martinsville, hitting nine home runs and driving in 50 runs while hitting .262. After a decent season as a 19-year-old in 1997, Schlicher went back to school where he was a record-setting quarterback for the University of Indianapolis.


Jake Chapman, Rensselaer, Round 26, Kansas City Royals

Chapman had an eight-year run in the minors, eventually reaching Triple-A. He was 55-31 with an ERA of 3.31.


Brian Kennedy, Harrison, Round 28, Minnesota Twins

I talked to a scout a couple years back who recalled Kennedy when he wore the orange and blue of the Raiders. He remembered a debate with another scout whether or not Kennedy should get selected out of high school. Kennedy was drafted and elected to begin a professional career. Kennedy never advanced passed rookie ball and never played professionally past the age of 20, competing in just 118 games over three seasons.


Erik Sabel, Harrison, Round 42, Arizona Diamondbacks

This was the first draft class for the D-Backs, who wouldn’t become a Major League franchise until 1998. Sabel played for the team that won a World Series over the Yankees three years later. Sabel made it to the Majors in 1999 and didn’t come back until that 2001 season, where he pitched 51 1/3 innings. He made one appearance for the Tigers in 2002. Sabel compiled a career win-loss record of 3-2.


Juan Cruz, Lafayette Jeff, Round 70, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Cruz never played professionally.


Eric Bruntlett, Harrison, Round 72, Los Angeles Dodgers

The fourth member of the 1995 state championship team to be drafted, Bruntlett was selected behind 1,663 other players, making the decision for him to go to college easy.
Clay Snellgrove

Clay Snellgrove (Photo: File)


Clay Snellgrove, Lafayette Jeff, Round 24, San Diego Padres

After four years playing at Middle Tennessee State, the infielder made it as high as Triple-A in six pro seasons. He hit .295 with 12 home runs and 221 RBIs. After the end of his pro career, he wrote a book about the trials and tribulations of a struggling baseball player.


Josh Loggins, Harrison, Round 11, San Diego Padres

After hitting .384 for the University of Kentucky in 1998, Loggins would again be drafted. He never advanced higher than Double-A but was able to display his hitting power with 90 career home runs in the minor and independent leagues. Back in his home state in 1999 at the Padres’ Class-A affiliate in Fort Wayne, Loggins hit .297 with 14 home runs, 85 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in perhaps his best pro season. He’s still involved with baseball locally at the youth level and managed the Lafayette All-Stars in the Colt World Series.


Neal Musser, Benton Central, Round 2, New York Mets

The left-handed pitcher went high in the draft (73rd overall) and eventually did reach the Majors, eight years after being drafted and with another team. Musser made 17 appearances with the Kansas City Royals in 2007, compiling a 4.38 ERA. He made. He pitched one scoreless inning in 2008 for the Royals. He last pitched in 2010 on the independent circuit.


Sean Brummett, Frontier, Round 15, Anaheim Angels

The southpaw pitched Bob Warn’s Indiana State clubs to 13 victories between the 1998-99 seasons and was good enough to impress Angels scouts. He played three seasons in the Angels organization, reaching Double-A before going 7-5 on the mound in independent ball in 2002. Brummett compiled 19 career wins and a 3.87 ERA with 282 strikeouts.


David Beigh, Harrison, Round 2, Pittsburgh Pirates

The big lefty pitcher was drafted No. 59 overall out of high school. His career was plagued by elbow injuries that kept him from ever advancing past High Class A ball and he played in just four seasons with a career win-loss record of 2-10 and 109 strikeouts in 134 1/3 pro innings.
Eric Bruntlett

Eric Bruntlett (Photo: Paul J. Bereswill, ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Eric Bruntlett, Harrison, Round 9, Houston Astros

Not only did Bruntlett’s brains and baseball ability help him get a Stanford degree, it also allowed him to experience the big stage as the Cardinal went to the College World Series his senior year. Known more for his glove than his bat, Bruntlett’s defensive skills got him to the big leagues, where he played seven seasons in the Majors and was a member of three teams that went to the World Series in Houston and Philadelphia, including the 2008 champion Phillies. In that World Series, Bruntlett homered in Game 2, scored the winning run in Game 3 and scored the series clinching run in Game 5 to defeat Tampa Bay. He also found his place in baseball history in Philadelphia when he turned a game-ending unassisted triple play against the Mets, which earned special recognition in the Hall of Fame.


William Corbin, Lafayette Jeff, Round 24, Seattle Mariners

Corbin never played professionally.


Ryan Greives, Benton Central, Round 47, Philadelphia Phillies

Greives went to Northeast Texas Community College and the University of Nevada and never played professionally.


John Hensley, Fountain Central, Round 60, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Hensley made five appearances at age 24 on the independent circuit, racking up a 9.45 ERA.


Nick McIntyre, McCutcheon, Round 20, Detroit Tigers

McIntyre played at Purdue before the Tigers selected the infielder. He played six seasons, most recently at Double-A Erie in 2008. He hit 20 career homers with a .272 batting average and 56 stolen bases. He is currently an assistant coach at the University of Toledo.


Josh Lindblom, Harrison, Round 3, Houston Astros

Despite how highly the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher was picked, Lindblom packed his bags for Rocky Top, where he pitched for the University of Tennessee and went 4-6 as a freshman before coming home by transferring to Purdue.
Clayton Richard

Clayton Richard (Photo: AP)


Clayton Richard, McCutcheon, Round 8, Chicago White Sox

After going to the University of Michigan as a quarterback before embarking on baseball as his passion, Richard progressed through the minors and was called up by the White Sox in 2008 and helping them make the playoffs. A year later, he was involved in the Jake Peavy trade and pitched for the San Diego Padres from mid-2009 until 2013, when injuries ended his time out west. After making a Major League comeback with the Cubs in 2016, Richard wound up back in San Diego, where he played through 2018. He is currently on the Toronto Blue Jays.


Dan Sattler, Harrison, Round 44, Texas Rangers

Sattler had struggles with arm injuries but played 10 seasons professionally. After playing at Purdue post high school, Sattler advanced as high as Triple-A. He had a career record of 8-17 in the minors and has 241 career strikeouts. He also spent time playing independent league baseball and with a league in Mexico. Overall, he compiled a 29-34 professional record with a 3.52 ERA.


Dane Secott, Harrison, Round 27, Kansas City Royals

Secott pitched 15 games in Idaho Falls for the Royals’ short season rookie ball team, going 5-1 with a 0.79 earned run average. He gave up 20 hits in 34 1/3 innings.
Josh Lindblom

Josh Lindblom (Photo: AP)


Josh Lindblom, Harrison, Round 2, Los Angeles Dodgers

After transferring from Tennessee to Purdue, Lindblom transitioned from starter to closer and quickly became a favorite of another former Indiana high school baseball standout in manager Don Mattingly. In four seasons surfacing back and forth between the Majors and minor league baseball, Lindblom has yet to find a long-term place to call home during the summer, playing for the Dodgers, Phillies, Rangers and Athletics, before embarking on a baseball career in Korea. He returned to the Major Leagues in 2017 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the season, he returned to Korea where he’s been a star pitcher. But his biggest contribution may be his charity work with his charity, the Josh Lindblom Foundation.

MORE:Faith and family behind Lindblom’s return


Brandon Moore, Crawfordsville, Round 14, New York Mets

Moore was a big righty pitcher for the Athenians and served that same role for Indiana Wesleyan University. The Mets picked him and he rewarded their Single-A team Brooklyn with the first no-hitter in Cyclones’ history. He made it to Double-A, going 31-26 with a 3.76 ERA before trying his luck in the independent leagues in 2013.


Cameron Hobson, Crawfordsville, Round 37, New York Yankees

Hobson helped Crawfordsville win a state title as a senior before going to the University of Dayton. Despite being drafted after his junior season, he returned to school.


Cameron Hobson, Crawfordsville, Round 11, Seattle Mariners

Hobson smashed the Dayton pitching record books and improved his draft status by returning for a senior season. The lefty pitched five seasons in the minors, most recently in 2015, all in the Mariners farm system. He compiled a career 29-35 record with a 4.84 ERA and 328 strikeouts.
Nick Wittgren

Nick Wittgren (Photo: Kelley L Cox, Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)


Nick Wittgren, McCutcheon, Round 9, Miami Marlins

Once Wittgren went to junior college and stopped having strain on his arm from playing shortstop on non-pitching days, he thrived, found himself as the closer for the best Purdue baseball team in 100 years and has excelled in the Marlins’ minor league system, winning minor league reliever of the year in 2013. Wittgren made his Major League debut with the Marlins in 2016, where he pitched for three seasons. He is currently on the Cleveland Indians.


Logan Sowers, McCutcheon, Round 31, San Diego Padres

Having the look of a big leaguer can catch the eye of pro scouts, but when you can throw on a line from center to home as an 18-year-old, run like a deer and crank double-digit homers against tough competition in addition to that, you become an instant prospect. When it became apparent Sowers was going to use his scholarship to play for Indiana University, he dropped to round 31. Still, the Padres made him a selection out of high school.


Chandler Ferguson, Lafayette Jeff, Round 25, Cleveland Indians

After topping out in the mid 90s and leading the Bronchos to back-to-back North Central Conference championships, Ferguson skipped college and signed with the Indians out of high school. He made one appearance, striking out two hitters in one inning.


Logan Sowers, McCutcheon, Round 28, Chicago White Sox

After foregoing a professional baseball career out of high school, Sowers finished up a successful career at Indiana University before being taken by the White Sox. In rooke ball in 2018, he hit .296 with nine home runs and 35 runs batted in. He began the 2019 season at Class A Kannapolis.


Zach Huffins, West Lafayette, Round 13, Tampa Bay Rays

Huffins attended Arizona Western College out of high school, where he excelled on the base paths with his speed and became a formidable hitter for the Mastadons, leading the team in home runs and stolen bases as a sophomore. He committed to Arizona State University.


Bob Friend, Pittsburgh Pirates

Before there was a draft, the West Lafayette graduate signed with the Pirates out of high school. The area’s most notable baseball talent was a three-time Major League all-star and a member of the 1960 World Series champion Pirates. Friend was the National League ERA champ in 1955 with a 2.83 earned run average and led the league in innings pitched in 1956 and ’57. Friend finished third in the 1958 Major League Cy Young voting behind Bob Turley and Warren Spahn before the Cy Young was given out in separate leagues. He was sixth in the MVP voting the same season. Friend compiled a career record of 197-230 with a 3.58 ERA and 1,734 strikeouts in 16 seasons, all but one with the Pirates. He spent his final season in 1966 with the Mets and Yankees.

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Rick Helling’s life changed forever because of American Legion baseball.

A 1989 Fargo Shanley High School graduate, Helling was set to play football at UND. But his sport switched after Helling and teammate Tim Sandy led Fargo Post 2 to a run to baseball’s American Legion World Series.

Helling, whose baseball background includes stints at Lakota High School and the Devils Lake American Legion program, reported to the UND football program after the 1989 World Series and spent a season as a redshirt freshman.

But then he turned his attention from football to baseball and the rest is history, as the right-hander became the most successful pitcher ever produced in North Dakota.

When Grand Forks hosts the North Dakota Class AA American Legion baseball tournament, beginning Friday, it marks 30 years since that run deep into the 1989 Legion postseason.

“Who knows where I would have been now,” the 48-year-old Helling said. “It’s hard to imagine. I was hoping I’d be good enough to play pro football. But chances of that were probably pretty slim.

“I probably would have played football at UND, finished school and gotten a regular job. Maybe I would have become an attorney. It’s crazy how if you come to a fork in the road, going left instead of right can change things.”

By 1994, Helling was pitching in the Major Leagues. He became the only North Dakota native to win 20 wins in a season, going 20-7 for the Texas Rangers in 1998.

In his 12-year Major League career, Helling won more games (93-81 record), started more games (234), pitched more innings (1,526.1) and struck out more batters (1,058) than any other North Dakota native. He pitched in the 2003 World Series for the champion Florida Marlins.

All this after deciding baseball, not football, was his future.

The attention of the professional scouts started to heat up after Helling pitched Fargo to a first-round win in the 1989 Legion World Series in Tennessee, a season in which he posted a 15-0 record.

“Some scouts saw me play in the region tournament and I think that opened some eyes,” Helling said. “I pitched and hit well and was named the region MVP.

“Then we got to the World Series and I beat Richmond, Va. A bunch of scouts came to me and coach (Jerry) Harter, asking where I was going to play. They told me I might have a future in baseball. That’s where it got started.

“I still think to this day that I was a better football player than baseball player back then. Football was my passion.”

At the end of his first semester at UND, Helling decided to join Sandy at a junior college in Illinois and switch from football to baseball.

The hardest part of leaving UND, he said, was telling head football coach Roger Thomas and assistant Rob Bollinger, who recruited Helling, of his plans.

“But they were awesome about it,” Helling said. “They told me they wanted the best for me, that if baseball didn’t work out they’d welcome me back. Now I see them and they laugh and say they thought I was crazy, giving up a full football scholarship.”

Helling played two years of baseball at Kishwaukee (Ill.) Junior College. From there, it was a year at Division I Stanford University before the Texas Rangers made Helling the 22nd overall selection in the 1992 MLB amateur draft.

In the meantime, Helling also made the USA team for the 1991 Pan Am Games and the 1992 Olympics.

“When I made the USA team in the summer of 1991, I think that’s when I realized I could do something in baseball,” Helling said.

“I went to tryout camp thinking I had no chance of making the team. I was only a few years removed from playing Legion ball in Fargo. But I made it and I guess it was then I felt there was maybe something in (baseball) for me.”

Helling retired after the 2006 season. That ended a vagabond baseball career that started growing up in Lakota, N.D., where as a sophomore Helling was starting third baseman on a Lakota team that won the 1987 Class B state high school tournament.

It included two years playing for the Devils Lake American Legion team before making the move to Fargo after his junior year at Lakota High School. He played two years for the Fargo Legion team.

Helling lives in the Twin Cities, working for the Major League Baseball Players’ Association for the past 10 years. He also spent several seasons as an assistant high school football coach.

“It’s amazing how time flies,” Helling said. “One of the most fun times I’ve had in sports was playing with those (Fargo Legion) guys. We had a great bunch, and my Legion team shaped who I am.

“Growing up in North Dakota, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

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From left to right: Michael Hill, president of baseball operations for the Miami Marlins, Don Mattingly, team manager, and Derek Jeter, chief executive officer, speak during a press conference at Marlins Park on Sept. 20. The Marlins would like to add at least one veteran bat this winter. MATIAS J. OCNER [email protected].com

A quick six-pack of Marlins notes:

▪ The Marlins intend to sign at least one veteran bat but are disinclined to give him a longterm deal because they don’t want to block any of their top position prospects, according to a source.

Miami is exploring free agent outfielders and corner infielders, with a bunch of names under consideration.
Jeter’s free agency plan: ‘We must be responsible,’ but if
there’s fit ‘we’ll go get him’

Among the realistic free agent outfield options: Avasail Garcia (.282, 20 homers, 72 RBI for Tampa Bay), Corey Dickerson (.304, 12, 59 for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), Brett Gardner (.251, 28, 74 for the Yankees) and Adam Jones (.260, 16, 67 for Arizona). The Marlins and Jones spoke last offseason.
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And The Athletic reported that Miami has inquired about Nationals free agent infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick, who hit .344 for the Nationals, with 17 homers and 62 RBI.

Like nearly every team, the Marlins are slow-playing free agency at the moment. They might wait to sign a bat until during or after next month’s winter meetings in San Diego, though they haven’t ruled out doing something sooner.

“We need to get better [and] adding offense will be the focal point,” Marlins president/baseball operations Michael Hill said Wednesday night.

▪ The Marlins are not aggressively pursuing Cubs free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos but like the player and could enter the bidding if he’s still available in a few weeks and willing to accept a shorter deal, according to a source.

Agent Scott Boras is believed to be looking for a sizable multiyear deal.

Castellanos, a native of Davie, hit..289 with 27 homers and 73 RBI for the Cubs and Detroit last season.

The Marlins aren’t pursuing free agents that would require draft pick compensation, such as Cardinals free agent and former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

▪ At this point, the Marlins are leaning toward tendering arbitration-eligible Jose Urena but haven’t made a final decision.

Urena was 4-7 with a 4.70 ERA in 13 appearances as a starter before a back injury last season. He returned late in the season as a reliever but struggled, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in 11 appearances.

Urena being tendered doesn’t guarantee he will be on the team; the Marlins tendered Dan Straily last winter but utimately released him before the season, with Miami required to pay only a small percentage of the salary.

Even with Urena’s erratic performance last season, he still has value as an established veteran starter.

The Marlins also must make a decision on whether to tender Adam Conley by the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline.

The Marlins moved on from Wei Yin Chen on Wednesday night, designating him for assignment even though Miami owes him $22 million next season.

▪ I asked Hill on Wednesday if there are position players – besides Brian Anderson, Jorge Alfaro and Miguel Rojas – who can be projected as very likely starters next season regardless of how they play in spring training.

Hill stopped short of calling anyone else a sure-fire starter but made clear that Garrett Cooper, Isan Diaz, Harold Ramirez, Jon Berti and Lewis Brinson “will have every opportunity to compete for at bats.”

The Marlins naturally would love for Diaz to be their longterm second baseman, but he needs to at least perform decently next spring.

▪ Pitching stuff: The Marlins want to sign at least two relievers to supplement the group of Drew Steckenrider (returning from elbow surgery), Ryne Stanek, Austin Brice, Jarlin García and José Quijada…. The Marlins’ decision to omit lefty Will Stewart from their 40-man roster seems like a reasonably safe gamble because he was erratic at Class A Jupiter, going 6-12 with a 5.43 ERA. It seems unlikely – though not out of the question – that a team would take him in the Rule 5 draft. The Marlins had several top prospects who needed to be moved to the 40-man roster, so someone invariably was going to get left out. Stewart “is still a very good major league prospect,” Hill said of the third piece acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade (with Alfaro and top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez).

▪ Quick stuff: The Marlins shifted Triple A affiliates, from the New Orleans BabyCakes to the Wichita Wind Surge…The Marlins were encouraged by Nick Neidert’s work in the Arizona Fall League; he had a 1.25 ERA in five starts. “To make up for the time he lost due to injury [last season, when he was limited to 13 starts] was incredibly important,” Hill said…Victor Victor Mesa hit .271 in the Fall League and Jerar Encarnacion .269.
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Barry Jackson
Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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Miguel Rojas Jersey

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I’ve said in the past that Miguel Rojas is the heart and soul of the Miami Marlins.

Miguel Rojas has always been a solid defensive asset everywhere on the diamond, providing at least average defense at all four positions. The Marlins doubled down on him as their starting shortstop in 2019, and were rewarded with the second best WAR from amongst Miami’s position players – a mark of 2.4.

For those of you who don’t pore over every little nook and cranny of the Miami Marlins statistics day-in, day-out, year-by-year, or player-by-player, it may surprise you to know that Rojas stands alone not just in terms of longevity on the parent club, but also in terms of production. He’s topped the 2.0 WAR benchmark for three consecutive seasons now, and looks poised to take another step in his age-31 season.
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The Marlins saw fit to reward Rojas with a two-season, $10.25 million deal near the end of the 2019 campaign. The contract includes an incentives-based option for a third season, as quoted by the Associated Press in USA Today:

Miami has a $5.5 million team option for 2022 with a $500,000 buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he has 500 or more plate appearances in 2021 and it is determined he will be healthy for spring training in 2022.


Rojas is a better-than-even bet to reach that benchmark with the club. In today’s age of hangnail injured list cowboys, Rojas has only visited the IL twice in his five seasons with the Marlins. He’s topped 500 plate appearances in each of his last two seasons, while discovering a modest power stroke in the balance. After a homer in each of his first four major league seasons, he’s clubbed 16 in the past two years.
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We know that Rojas will never hit 20 homers or steal 20 bases, but you can count on him to hold down the shortstop position defensively in perpetuity. Last season, he was worth 12 defensive runs above average in 1060 2/3 innings at the spot. You can also count on him to hover around .280 while striking out about 12 percent of the time. Never underestimate the power of contact.

Rojas has a career .263/.314/.348 line, but pushed that up to .284/.331/.379 last season. Baseball reference projects him to regress slightly next season, but I’m going to take the over on this gritty Venezuelan to play himself even further into our hearts. Jazz Chisholm waits in the wings, along with Bryson Brigman, Demetrius Sims, Jose Devers, Dalvy Rosario, Nasim Nunez, and Osiris Johnson, but we all know that Rojas can play anywhere. This is a guy who will always land on his feet, and Rojas is the obvious choice for team captain, if the Marlins are inclined to name someone.

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ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 15: The benches clear after Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves was hit by by a pitch from Jose Urena of the Miami Marlins at the start of the first inning at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

MIAMI – Major League Baseball has suspended Marlins pitcher Jose Urena for six games for throwing at Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr.

Urena hit Acuna with the first pitch of the game on Wednesday night.

The 97 mph fastball hit Acuna near his elbow.

Acuna left the game but did not break any bones. The Braves list him as day to day.

Urena will also receive a fine.

His suspension will begin on Friday, barring an appeal.
MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 10: Jose Urena #62 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 10, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 10: Jose Urena #62 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 10, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

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Jay Powell Jersey

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Jay Powell was a 6’4″, 220 lb. reliever from Meridian, Mississippi. Born on January 9th, 1972, Powell made his major league debut at the age of 23 with the Florida Marlins in 1995.

Powell would go on to enjoy an 11-season major league career, pitching in 512 games and starting zero of them. According to FiP and WHIP, his best season was his 1997 with the Florida Marlins, when he ranked ninth in the National League with 74 appearances.
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Powell was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 11th round back in 1990, but elected to play collegiate baseball instead. He joined the Mississippi State Bulldogs for two seasons prior to getting drafted. In 29 games, including six starts, he was 7-8 with a 2.64 ERA, and 119 K’s in 122 2/3 innings.

It was a solid decision, and increased Powell’s draft stock significantly. The Baltimore Orioles took him in the first round in 1993, 19th overall off the board. He reported to the Albany Polecats in the middle-A South Atlantic League, and went 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA and 29 K’s in 27 2/3 innings over six starts.

In 1994, Powell spent the entire season with the high-A Carolina League outfit, the Frederick Keys. He played in 26 games, including 20 starts, and posted a 7-7 record with a 4.96 ERA. He also threw 12 wild pitches and had a 1.51 WHIP – hardly promotion ready, and the Orioles decided to cut bait.
Jay Powell with the Florida Marlins

During the after the 1994 postseason, the Florida Marlins traded Bret Barberie to Baltimore for Powell’s services. As part of the double-A Portland Sea Dogs, in the Eastern League, Powell played in 50 games and went 5-4 with a 1.87 ERA, 53 K’s in 53 innings, and a very solid 1.08 WHIP. Encouraged, the Marlins decided to take a flyer on Powell for the month of September. In his first nine games, he allowed seven hits and one earned run over 8 1/3 innings, with six walks and four strikeouts. The resultant 1.56 WHIP was nothing to write home about, but the Marlins had seen enough to give Powell another go.

1996 would see the Florida Marlins employ Powell for a full season, less one game with the high-A Brevard County Manatees, in the Florida State League. He ranked second on the team with 67 appearances, trailing only closer Robb Nen‘s 75. Powell was 4-3 with a 4.54 ERA, 52 K’s in 71 1/3 innings, and a 1.50 WHIP. As pedestrian as his WHIP was, it still ranked sixth out of 10 qualified players on the Marlins roster.

As previously stated, 1997 was a banner year for Powell, and not just because the Florida Marlins ended up winning their first World Series. Powell ranked second on the team with a solid 3.25 FiP, trailing only staff-ace Kevin Brown‘s 2.94. Powell was 7-2 with a 3.28 ERA, and 65 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings of work. His 1.27 WHIP was the best mark of his career. Powell would go on to appear in four games against the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic, and despite finishing with a 2.455 WHIP to his credit, he was also the winning pitcher of record in the seventh and deciding game in the series.
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Powell played in 33 games for the Marlins in 1998, but put up a 1.60 WHIP over 36 1/3 innings. On Independence Day, the Marlins traded him with Scott Makarewicz to the Houston Astros for Ramon Castro.

Powell went on to have a great half-season for the Astros before reverting to the mean. After finishing the 1997 campaign with 0.8 WAR, he got a figure of 1.2 in his three months with Houston. That 2.0 total was most of his 11-season value of 2.9.

Powell pitched for the Astros until 2001, played part of a season with the Colorado Rockies, pitched for the Texas Rangers for three seasons, and finished up with the Atlanta Braves in 2005 after fracturing his humerus. Powell retired after that without a losing record in any of his 11 MLB seasons. He remains one of only seven pitchers to accomplish the feat. (Andy Pettite had 17 seasons without a losing record). Deacon Phillipe, Urban Shocker, Dizzy Dean, Dave Foutz, and Spud Chandler round out the list.

Wei-Yin Chen Jersey

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The Miami Marlins announced that pitcher Wei-Yin Chen has been designated for assignment on Wednesday. The reliever has been with the team since 2016.

The Miami Marlins finally made a decision about reliever Wei-Yin Chen by designating him for assignment. It wasn’t the only news of the day as the team made changes to its 40-man roster on Wednesday.

“It is a challenge, and it’s a good challenge to have,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “As we’ve built the layers of talent throughout the system, we still believe he is a very good Major League prospect.”

Now, the Marlins prepare for the 2020 season without him, knowing it can maneuver a bit more in free agency and potential trades to aid the pitching staff.
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“We knew what was involved with Wei-Yin Chen,” Hill said. “We just felt like, as we looked to 2020 and beyond, that we have to make tough decisions. But in the end, we felt like this was the best use of our 40-man roster spots, and one that put us in the best position in moving into the future.”

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The Marlins scarcely used Chen in the second half of the 2019 season.

According to Joe Frisaro of, “The decision to move on from Chen left the Marlins with six openings on the 40-man roster, which were filled by right-handers Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera, Nick Neidert, and Humberto Mejia, along with shortstop Jazz Chisholm and first baseman Lewin Diaz.”

In his four seasons in Miami, Chen was less than exciting on the mound, posting a 13-19 record with a 5.10 ERA. He has a 46-32 and a 3.72 ERA in four seasons with the Orioles prior to signing with Miami in the offseason of 2016.

The name that might be the most talked-about within the organization to make the 26-man roster is Neidert, who will come to Spring Training as a contender for the rotation after a season in Triple-A that was marred by a knee injury. Neidert rebounded to have a solid second half of 2019 and was dominant in the Arizona Fall League.

It is also an indication of how far this minor league system has grown since Derek Jeter took over as the team’s CEO. He and Hill have built a feeder system that has proven to one of the best with both men making decisions.

And there is more to come because of shrewd decisions in the MLB Draft the past two years and how the Marlins have been able to acquire talent at the trade deadline. The only thing that is missing is the production translation from the minors to the Major Leagues. The pitching staff appears to be ahead of the hitters.

This is the reason Jeter put such an emphasis on grabbing outfield prospects with high-home run potential this past season. And his ability to grab top prospects is starting to pay off, even if it has been a slow process since September of 2017.

When Jeter took over the team, there was the need to add arms to the minor league system to build the pitching foundation for the future.
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