The affiliation between the Jacksonville Suns (Class AA; Southern League) and the Miami Marlins will continue, as the teams have agreed to a player development contract (PDC) extension. At four years, the new agreement assures that the affiliation will continue through the 2020 season.
The Marlins will continue to furnish the players and coaching personnel for the Suns, a partnership that began with the 2009 season and has produced three Southern League Championships – 2009, 2010 and 2014.
“We are incredibly proud to announce this partnership extension with the Marlins,” said Suns owner Ken Babby. “Fans can continue to look forward to seeing some of the best talent in professional baseball coming through Jacksonville en route to Miami and the big leagues for years to come.”
When the 2020 season is complete, the Suns will have been Miami’s Double-A affiliate for 12 seasons, matching the 1972-1983 affiliation with the Kansas City Royals for the longest in Jacksonville franchise history.
“We are extremely appreciative of the Marlins’ support through our first year of a new era of Suns baseball,” said Suns General Manager Harold Craw. “We look forward to our continuing affiliation to showcase the next wave of Marlins talent for fans at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.”
Jacksonville has been a fertile proving ground for young Marlins talent, with Miami stars Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Yefri Perez, A.J. Ramos, Derek Dietrich, and Tom Koehler among others all suiting up for the Suns before making it to the majors.
In 2016 alone, 24 former Suns have played at some point in Miami, while three members of Jacksonville’s 2016 Opening Day roster – Austin Brice, Jake Esch, and Perez, are currently playing in the majors for the Marlins.
“We are very excited to continue our working relationship with the Suns and the Jacksonville community over the next four years,” said Marlins Vice President of Player Development, Marc DelPiano. “Ken Babby, Harold Craw and his front office staff, along with the stadium facilities, provide our players with a quality player development environment. The Suns’ fanbase has always been great supporters of our minor leaguers and the entire Marlins’ organization. Our goal is to not only provide a great product on the field with up and coming Major League players but also a strong involvement within the community off the field.”