Marlins Strike 11th-Hour Deal With Heaney





FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—The Marlins had resigned themselves to the fact they would not be signing first-round pick Andrew Heaney.

The signing deadline remained a couple of days away, but Miami didn't believe it could complete the physical and blood work required to consummate a deal in time.

However, in the early-morning hours of Friday, July 13—deadline day—the Marlins learned that Heaney, a lefthander out of Oklahoma State, was in Miami and not home in Oklahoma.

"We still said, 'That's really great, but we're still not sure we can do anything,' " president of operations Larry Beinfest said. "It wasn't until (team medical director) Dr. (Lee) Kaplan said. 'Yes, we can get (the physical) done,' that it actually was going to happen."

At about 9:30 a.m., Heaney agreed to the Marlins' offer of $2.6 million, though he had been holding out for an additional $200,000. Beinfest returned to South Florida from a family vacation at about 4 p.m., receiving word from Kaplan that Heaney passed the physical.

"I don't know how, why or when Andrew Heaney got in town," Beinfest said. "There was nothing going on . . . There had been no contact since Tuesday, which is when we said we'd like to have a deal done to get Andrew in (Miami) in a reasonable amount of time to get a physical done."

Having the 21-year-old lefthander in South Florida on July 13 proved a savvy move on the part of Rob Martin, Heaney's Icon Sports adviser.

"I wasn't going to leave anything to chance," Heaney said. "I knew I wanted to play for them. I knew they wanted me to play for them. I never had any doubts."

After signing, Heaney reported to Jupiter, Fla., for an arm assessment before an anticipated assignment to short-season Jamestown.

Heaney didn't want to speculate as to how quickly he might advance through the system, but the Marlins believe he'll join the pitching fast track with 2011 draft picks Jose Fernandez and Adam Conley.

FISH BITES

• Negotiations with third-rounder Avery Romero, a high school third baseman from St. Augustine, Fla., also went down to the July 13 deadline before he signed for $700,000.

• Three 2012 draftees combined on a July 19 perfect game against the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Astros. Righthander Justin Jackson (27th round) went the first six innings followed by lefty Patrick Merkling (18th) and righty Dane Stone (25th), who worked the final two frames.