Jumbo Shrimp Accept Invitation to Become Marlins' Triple-A Affiliate
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp have officially accepted their invitation to become the new Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins after signing Major League Baseball's Professional Development License (PDL). The 10-year agreement solidifies an invitation for the city of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida to field a Triple-A baseball team for the first time since 1968 and continues the Jumbo Shrimp's affiliation with the Marlins, which dates back to 2009.
"This is a momentous day for Jumbo Shrimp fans to officially bring the top level of Minor League Baseball to 121 Financial Ballpark," said Jumbo Shrimp owner & CEO Ken Babby. "As we enter this new era of Minor League Baseball, the familiarity of continuing our long-standing partnership with the Miami Marlins, whose players, coaches and staff have long embraced the city of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, is so exciting. We look forward to growing that relationship as the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate for many years to come."
The club's current 13-year run as a Marlins affiliate has seen a steady infusion of high-level talent playing in Jacksonville. The 2019 season featured several current consensus Top 100 prospects suiting up for the Jumbo Shrimp, including right-handers Sixto SÃ¡nchez (MLB.com No. 15 prospect) and Edward Cabrera (No. 68) and infielder Jazz Chisholm (No. 66). Additionally, outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (2009-10), Christian Yelich (2013) and Marcell Ozuna (2013), catcher J.T. Realmuto (2013-14), infielder/outfielder Brian Anderson (2016-17) and right-hander Luis Castillo (2016) all came through the First Coast on their way to the major leagues. All-Star caliber players who have completed rehab assignments in Jacksonville include the late right-hander José FernÃ¡ndez (2015) and infielders Rafael Furcal (2014) and MartÃn Prado (2017, 2019). On the field as a Marlins' affiliate, Jacksonville won the 2009, 2010 and 2014 Southern League championships.
The Jumbo Shrimp were initially invited on December 9 to become the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate under the new PDL structure, which stipulates all affiliation agreements between MLB and MiLB clubs to be 10 years in length. The new system is part of Major League Baseball restructuring Minor League Baseball following the September 2020 expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement governing the two entities' relationship.
With Minor League Baseball now featuring 120 teams competing across four levels, Jacksonville will be Miami's Triple-A affiliate, with the Marlins' farm system being rounded out by the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Class A-Advanced Beloit Snappers and Class A Jupiter Hammerheads.
The 2021 campaign will mark Jacksonville's second stint in Triple-A. In 1962, the first team known as the Jacksonville Suns replaced the Class A South Atlantic League's Jacksonville Jets and posted a 94-60 record to register the International League's best record. Jacksonville matched that feat in 1964 with an 89-62 mark before winning the International League Championship in 1968.
During this era of Triple-A baseball in Northeast Florida, several prominent players spent time with the Suns, including right-handers Tom Seaver (1966), Nolan Ryan (1967) and Luis Tiant (1962), left-handers Tommy John (1962-63), Jerry Koosman (1967) and Tug McGraw (1966-68) and outfielders Amos Otis (1967-68), Ken Singleton (1968) and Vic Davalillo (1962).
Following the 1968 season, the Suns relocated to Norfolk, Va. before baseball returned to Jacksonville in 1970 in the form of the Double-A Southern League Suns, which played as the Expos, Suns, and since 2017, the Jumbo Shrimp.
A 2021 Triple-A schedule will be released shortly, but season tickets, mini plans and group outings are available by calling the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846.
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