MIAMI — Longtime Marlins fan Lewis Brinson is excited about the direction of the franchise in the wake of an offseason reboot that now involves him.
Brinson, who had been the Milwaukee Brewers’ top prospect, was acquired by Miami along with three other minor leaguers for outfielder Christian Yelich. Brinson grew up in South Florida as a Marlins fan and is delighted to join his hometown team.
“In elementary school or middle school, any time I had to write a paper on what you wanted to be when you grew up, mine was to play major league baseball for the Marlins,” Brinson said Friday. “My mom might have proof at home. I would get A’s on those papers, because I poured it out.”
Along with the 23-year-old outfielder, Miami acquired outfielder Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz and right-handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto on Thursday.
Yelich’s departure means the Marlins have dismantled their entire outfield, widely regarded as the game’s best. They earlier dealt major league home run champion Giancarlo Stanton and All-Star Marcell Ozuna, as well as second baseman Dee Gordon.
The payroll purge for prospects under new CEO Derek Jeter has antagonized the team’s already small fan base. But Brinson sees potential long-term success for his favorite franchise.
“I’m glad to be a part of it,” he said. “I think our future is pretty bright. I think the fans have a lot to be excited about. Obviously they’re a little hurt, but I think they’re going to be a little bit surprised at what we have to offer with all the young guys. I’m excited, and Marlins fans should be as well.”
Brinson often attended games as a youth and has especially fond memories of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series championship team. They haven’t been to the playoffs since, and are now counting on Brinson’s help to return.
He’ll be given a chance to win a starting job in spring training after batting .287 with 87 homers in the minors, including .331 with 13 homers in 2017 for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
But Brinson hit .106 in 47 at-bats with the Brewers last year, and acknowledged the trials of breaking into the big leagues.
“It’s a big dream coming true for you,” he said. “You get nervous, and you can try to do too much. You try to impress right away. The game can speed up on you. They call it the show for a reason. I think this year it will be a lot easier for me to make adjustments quick and just play my game.”
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