Marlins agree to deal with first-round pick Moran
North Carolina third baseman was selected sixth overall in June Draft
MIAMI -- The hot corner has pretty much been a revolving door for the Marlins since Mike Lowell anchored the position from 1999-2005.
The Marlins are hopeful they've found a long-term answer in Colin Moran, the sixth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft on June 6.
Moran officially signed with Miami on Friday, the deadline for all teams to complete deals with their picks. The 20-year-old from the University of North Carolina signed for the No. 6 pick slot value of $3,516,500.
A native of Rye, N.Y., Moran took his physical on Thursday, shortly after reaching agreement. On Friday afternoon, the left-handed-hitting third baseman was introduced to the media at Marlins Park.
"We haven't had a long-term third baseman since Mike Lowell left us," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "We've been searching for that person; hopefully it ends right here with Colin."
Accompanied by his parents, Moran had a chance to see the ballpark, and he was on hand to watch the Marlins face the Nationals. On Saturday, he will take batting practice with the club, and on Monday, he will be headed to low Class A Greensboro. If he enjoys early success, there is a chance he could be promoted to Advanced Class A Jupiter.
In Moran, the Marlins see an imposing left-handed hitter who stands 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. He will be invited to big league camp for Spring Training in 2014.
"It's an advanced bat," Beinfest said. "I think he's going to be fine. If you can hit, you can hit. College is college and pro ball is pro ball. There definitely is a difference, but this guy put up big numbers in a really good conference. He's a very accomplished guy."
Moran grew up rooting for the Yankees, and he is a Derek Jeter fan.
"I definitely grew up a Derek Jeter fan, but it's safe to say now, I'm a Marlins fan," Moran said.
Moran is familiar with Lowell, a Miami native who was an All-Star, Gold Glove Award winner and a World Series champion with the Marlins.
"He was a great player," Moran said. "I like following guys like that."
Since selecting Moran in June, the Marlins were confident they would get the deal done. Initially, they didn't open contract talks until after Moran got finished playing in the College World Series.
While the Marlins came to terms with Moran, they were unable to do so with their third-rounder, shortstop Ben Deluzio, who is opting to attend Florida State University. The only other player in the top 16 rounds not to sign was left-hander Matt Krook from San Francisco. Krook was taken with the 35th overall pick, which was a competitive balance selection.
After reaching terms, Krook failed his physical due to a left shoulder ailment. He's opted to sign with the University of Oregon rather than accept a reduced offer from the Marlins.
As compensation for Krook, the Marlins will have the 37th overall pick in 2014, as well an extra pick at the end of the third round to replace the loss of Deluzio.
"[Deluzio] wanted to go to school," Beinfest said. "He felt like that's what he wanted to do. This has been going on a couple of weeks. We knew he wanted to go back to school. You never know until you hit the deadline."
Beinfest said that the feedback they got from their amateur scouts was the high school shortstop was leaning towards going pro.
"I guess he had a change of heart, and that, obviously, is his deal," Beinfest said.
Moran, meanwhile, now joins his older brother, Brian, in the pro ranks. Brian Moran is a left-handed pitcher at Triple-A Tacoma in Seattle's system. Their uncle is B.J. Surhoff, a former big leaguer who was the first overall pick by Milwaukee in 1985.
The Marlins made a total of 31 signings (two undrafted free agents) from the 2013 Draft.
Moran, a junior All-American at UNC, is a finalist for the 2013 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award for the top amateur player in the country. He was named the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. Moran finished the season with a .345 average (97-for-281), along with 13 home runs and an NCAA-leading 91 RBIs.
"In this new system, a lot of guys signed early and they were out playing," Beinfest said. "The bottom line, we were hopeful with Colin as well. We knew he was playing in the World Series, but the sooner these guys get out and just get acclimated, riding the buses and taking care of themselves, the better. There is still time with him."