Charles Johnson is Back! Signs 5-Year Deal

The Marlins have brought catcher Charles Johnson back with a 5-year $35 million deal. To make room on the roster for Johnson, the Marlins will designate for assignment the contract of right-handed pitcher Reid Cornelius. “We’re thrilled to have Charles Johnson back in the Marlins organization. He was the first player ever selected by the Marlins in the 1992 June amateur draft. He is also a local fan favorite who played high school and college baseball here in South Florida,” said GM David Dombrowski. “He was an integral part of our World Series Championship team in 1997. He is one of the best all-around catchers in the game and his coming back improves our Club significantly. In addition to his offense, I think he can help our young pitching staff reach the next level in their maturity process.”

Marlins and Miami-Dade Reach Tentative Agreement to Build Ballpark

The Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel are reporting this morning that the Florida Marlins and Miami-Dade County have reached a tentative agreement to finance and construct a new retractable-roof ballpark which would guarantee the health and stability of the franchise for years to come. An announcement is expected on Sunday afternoon.

The Marlins and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas apparently negotiated the deal over the past few weeks. Miami Mayor Joe Carollo and other community activists were also involved in the negotiations. The Miami-Dade Commission, the Miami City Commission, and state Legislature must approve the deal that provides for a partnership between the team and the county. The county is likely to provide its share of the revenue of the remainder of a hotel tax which will build a performing arts center in Miami. Furthermore, the city will likely donate the land, although it is unclear where the ballpark will be located.

Under this financing plan, the stadium is expected to cost $385 million, will seat 40,000 and open for the 2004 season. The team would change its name to the Miami Marlins.

Marlins Announce 2001 Spring Training Schedule

The Florida Marlins announced Thursday their 2001 Spring Training schedule, which consists of 31 Grapefruit League games, including four night contests. The 17-game home schedule is highlighted by two games against the 2000 National League Champion New York Mets, two games against Cal Ripken and the Baltimore Orioles, a March 11 contest against the 2000 NL East Champion Atlanta Braves and a March 14 game against Mark McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mark Roberts Completes the Garica Trade. Funaro To Seattle

The Florida Marlins announced Monday they have received right-handed pitcher Mark Roberts as the player to be named later in the November 27 trade that sent Amaury Garcia to the Chicago White Sox. His contract will be assigned to AAA Calgary. The Marlins also announced infielder Joe Funaro was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the AAA Phase of the 2000 Rule V Draft.

Marlins Acquire Jeff Abbott for Julio Ramirez

The Florida Marlins have acquired outfielder Jeff Abbott from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for outfielder Julio Ramirez. “Jeff Abbott gives us a solid extra outfielder who can play all three outfield positions,” Dave Dombrowski said. “He strengthens the depth of our Club and is someone who played with a Division Champion last year.” Abbott, a 6-2, 200 lb outfielder, hit .274 (59×215) with three home runs and 29 RBI in 80 games with Chicago in 2000. The versatile outfielder played in 33 games in centerfield, 20 games in leftfield, 16 games in right and seven games as a designated hitter in 2000. The 28-year-old native of Atlanta, Georgia has a .264 (146×554) lifetime average with 18 home runs and 78 RBI in four Major League seasons with Chicago.