Marlins pick up three in Rule 5 Draft
Florida bolsters roster with shortstop, pitcher and outfielder
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A year ago, the Marlins found the ultimate diamond in the rough when they plucked Dan Uggla away from the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 Draft.
Uggla emerged from obscurity to become the first Rule 5 choice to become an All-Star in the season he was drafted.
On Thursday, the Marlins used the Rule 5 Draft to bolster some depth in their Minor League system.
Florida passed on making a selection in the Major League portion of the draft. Players taken in that phase come at a cost of $50,000, and they carry the stipulation of having to stay on the active roster for an entire season or be offered back to their previous club for $25,000.
"In this particular year in the Major League phase, we were looking for one of our needs, like we did with Uggla last year," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming said. "We were looking for bullpen and center field, and we didn't see someone who we thought would be able to step in and do it every day, or even be a bench player."
In the Triple-A phase, the Marlins were active, making three selections. Each pick comes at a price of $12,000, and they don't have any stipulations of having to to stay on the club's roster or be sent back to their previous team.
The Marlins obtained shortstop Josh Labandeira, pitcher Cristhian Martinez and outfielder Lorenzo Scott Jr.
Florida also had one player taken from its Minor League system. In the Double-A portion, the Pirates selected pitcher Kevin Cave.
With the 12th pick in the Triple-A phase, the Marlins took Labandeira from the Nationals system. The 27-year-old, who played college ball at Fresno State, batted .276 with three home runs and 44 RBIs for New Orleans in the Pacific Coast League.
Labandeira will be assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he will provide middle-infield depth. At 5-foot-7, he can also play second and third base.
The Marlins' front office has familiarity with Labandeira.
Fleming was working for the Montreal Expos when Labandeira was drafted.
"We knew him quite well," Fleming said. "He's played a little bit in the big leagues. He is an aggressive, hard-nosed guy. He plays hard. He plays the game well. We felt like we needed some depth in the middle infield, and he's somebody who has played a little in the big leagues."
In 2004, Labandeira appeared in seven games and was hitless in 14 big-league at-bats for Montreal.
"[Labandeira] could play in the big leagues from what we've seen, and he's a guy who could help us in the big leagues in case of an injury," Fleming said.
In the second round, right-handed pitcher Cristhian Martinez was selected from the Tigers organization, where he went 5-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 19 Minor League games in 2006.
Martinez has had Tommy John surgery, and the team is hoping that being two years removed from the operation will make him ready to perform at the Minor League level.
In the third round, outfielder Lorenzo Scott Jr. was picked from the Baltimore system. Playing for Delaware in 2006, the former Ball State football player batted .258 with four home runs and 32 RBIs.
The speedster is expected to get some seasoning at Class A Jupiter.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.