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The 37-year-old is coming off a 2011 season where he hit .290 with 13 HR and 63 RBI in 145 games as the designated hitter of the Baltimore Orioles.
Guerrero says that he is not crazy about a move back to the National League.
"The Marlins have shown interest in me, but to be on the bench or to pinch hit for the pitcher. Ozzie Guillen didn't like this, since he said I'm not that class of player," Guerrero said. Guerrero shares this hesitancy, adding, "I don't consider myself a bench player, in spite of my age."
Guerrero remains the top right-handed hitting free agent available besides Derrek Lee, and the Marlins are looking for a right-handed hitter to come off the bench to complement lefties Chris Coghlan and Greg Dobbs. It will be interesting to see if the Marlins can sway him to come play in that type of role.
For more updates on this story, keep it to this StoryStream.
Cuban defector and center fielder Yoenis Cespedes signed with the Oakland Athletics today, accepting a four-year deal worth $36 million. The Marlins were rumored to be one of the teams heavily interested in Cespedes and had offered him a contract worth the same amount of money over six years according to CBSSports.com baseball writer Jon Heyman.
Cespedes has the power that can provide great deals of offense, batting .500 (11-22), despite going hitless against Team USA, with four home runs at the World University Baseball Championship in 2010.
The Marlins, with their new look, their new stadium opening up and flashy free agent signings already with the likes of shortstop Jose Reyes, starting pitcher Mark Buehrle and closer Heath Bell, wanted the defector to provide more excitement as expectations rise in an NL East that is getting more and more competitive with each free agent signing.
For more on the Miami Marlins check out Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins have been one of the teams reported to have interest in Yoenis Cespedes ever since his name started coming up earlier this Winter. They make a lot of sense geographically, and Cespedes was in Miami visiting the new ballpark this past week. According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Marlins made an offer to Cespedes, and it was actually fairly reasonable considering some of the proposed figures that have come out recently.
Upon his recent visit to Miami, the Marlins made Cespedes an offer that was initially reported to exceed $40MM. That number has since been denied, and Frisaro confirms that the offer was under $40MM, saying the Fish are comfortable with a number in the $30-35MM range.
There was some speculation that teams might need to spend about $60 million to get Cespedes under Contract this winter, so the offer that the Marlins extended was actually pretty good. But there don't seem to be a lot of other teams competing for his services, so the Marlins might be able to get a pretty fair deal.
For more on the Miami Marlins check out Fish Stripes.
For all the hype that Yoenis Cespesdes has drawn as a free agent outfielder this Winter, he has only hit the market fairly recently, and is just starting to make the rounds to meet with MLB teams. He traveled to Miami this week and will meet with the Marlins on Wednesday. According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel, Cespedes told reporters and fans in Miami that he would like to play for the Marlins.
"It would be good [to play here]," said Cespedes, who spoke briefly with half a dozen media members and signed autographs before exiting the international arrivals lobby. "There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins."
Since it first became apparent that Cespedes would be available at some point this Winter, the Marlins have been a very logical destination considering their proximity to Cuba and their new-found money-spending ways.
For more on the Miami Marlins check out Fish Stripes.
Yoenis Cespedes, a highly regarded Cuban outfielder, is expected to meet with officials from the Miami Marlins tomorrow to discuss joining the revamped club, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Cespedes is currently a free agent after defecting from Cuba in the summer of 2011, and the Marlins are one of a handful teams interested in the services of the versatile outfielder.
The Marlins have been one of the more active baseball teams during the off-season, signing free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell in hopes of building a perennial contender in South Florida. The addition of the 26 year-old Cespedes would bring to the organization a player who some project as a "five-tool" prospect, though he would likely begin the season on one of the club's minor league rosters. Miami is currently projecting to start Emilio Bonifacio in center with Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison taking the corner outfield positions when the season commences, but think enough of Cespedes's talent to still bring him in for discussions. The bidding for Yoenis could reach as high as the $60 million mark, Spencer reports, but Marlins owner Jeffery Loria has proved this winter he is not afraid to spend money to put a winning team on the field.
For more on the Miami Marlins check out Fish Stripes
Anibal Sanchez has been awarded the largest pitcher arbitration decision this weekend when he and the Miami Marlins met. Sanchez went into arbitration seeking $8 million while the Marlins were seeking $6.9 million.
Michael Jong of Marlins blog Fish Stripes explains the situation a bit:
Sanchez will earn about $2 million more than was expected of him by MLB Trade Rumors' projected arbitration salaries, but the Marlins anticipated this and actually offered around $7 million for the righty starter. Either way, this ensures that Sanchez will be a Marlin through 2012 and that he will also test the free agent waters following this year. If you will recall, I have previously advocated signing Sanchez to an extension to ensure that he is on the team for the next four seasons after 2012. With the Marlins unlikely to get a deal done with free agency imminent, it is very likely the team will let him sign on with a bigger fish.
For more on the Miami Marlins, visit SB Nation's Marlins blog Fish Stripes.
With Spring Training starting up in less than one month, free agent signings are starting to come down to the wire. But unlike in most other years, there are still a few big names left on the market; starters Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson are both still trying to get big deals, and Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes is starting to receive some serious attention from clubs. Here’s a quick rundown on the recent news and rumors about Cespedes:
“It’s hard for me to judge a player by watching him on YouTube, so I don’t really know what he can or can’t do,” Morrison said. "I’ve heard of the crazy power he has and what he looks like in all his stuff. But I’ve heard of guys that had crazy power and looked awesome in a uniform and don’t do crap on the field when the game starts.
“So I think that’s a big question mark, and it’s a big risk for the Marlins,”
It’s tough to disagree with Morrison’s logic. The Marlins have thrown caution to the wind this off-season, though, embracing risk in hopes of rejuvenating the franchise, so they may decide to go crazy with Cespedes regardless.
The Miami Marlins are nearly done going after pricey free agents this offseason -- Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes is their final target -- but they still have work to do in fleshing out their roster. Star players are an important step toward building a playoff-caliber team, but sometimes the difference between playing in October or hitting the golf course comes down to depth.
To that end, the Marlins signed Austin Kearns to a minor-league deal last night, providing them with some organizational depth in case of injuries. Kearns is a 31-year-old outfielder, and his recent history suggests he shouldn't be more than a backup, backup option for the Marlins. He is a mediocre-to-poor defensive outfielder, and at the plate, he strikes out too often considering he no longer has a powerful bat.
Kearns does have some potential, though. He was a decent offensive player (.746 OPS) for the Indians and Yankees back in 2010, so he could turn into a good bench player for the Marlins. It's no guarantee Kearns produces at that level, but considering the Marlins are signing him to a cheap minor-league deal, there is little to no risk involved.
For more on the Marlins, drop by SB Nation's blog Fish Stripes.
It took nearly the entire offseason, but Yoenis Cespedes is finally a free agent. The top Cuban prospect has been a hot item since free agency began in early November, but as he hadn't yet established residency in another country outside Cuba, he couldn't officially be listed as a free agent. After gaining residency in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, though, Cespedes has now been officially cleared by MLB and teams have been given the go-ahead to start bidding on him.
With Prince Fielder off the market, Yoenis Cespedes has suddenly become the top free agent position player still available. He has already drawn interest from around 10 teams, although the Cubs, Marlins, and Tigers were thought to be his top three suitors. The Tigers can likely now be scratched off that list, as they spent their remaining payroll room on Prince Fielder, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Nationals jump into the fray. They are in need of a center fielder, and since they missed out on Fielder, they have the money to spend.
The Miami Marlins intend to be aggressive in pursuing Cespedes, chasing him "right to the point of stupidity", but there are mixed reports on if the interest is mutual. According to Danny Knobler from CBS Sports, Cespedes has told teams that he would prefer not to play in Miami. Then again, Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro is hearing that Cespedes has no qualms about playing in Miami....so who knows? Only time will tell at this point.
For more on the Marlins, drop by SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Miami Marlins team president David Samson recently went on the record talking about the Marlins' interest in Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, and his response was quite possibly the best quote ever uttered by a team president. Ever.
"Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there," said Samson, characterizing the club's planned pursuit. "We think he's a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
"Aggressive right to the point of stupidity." That quote could sum up the entire offseason for the Marlins. They approached the free agent market like a compulsive shopper on a spree, locking down Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell all to long-term deals. They also made a run at Albert Pujols and traded for Carlos Zambrano, and now they're talking about throwing a bundle of money at a Cuban player that's never played in North America.
But even after throwing around all this money, the Marlins have yet to cross that line into "stupidity". Reyes' deal was actually a relative bargain, considering the contract Carl Crawford received in 2010, and Buehrle and Bell were both high-end free agents that came without an insane sticker price. The Marlins also managed to acquire Carlos Zambrano while taking on very little in payroll, setting their rotation up to be one of the best in the league.
So when the Marlins say they're going to pursue Cespedes to the verge of stupidity, I completely believe them. The only question is, what does that translate to in dollars?
The Miami Marlins have stressed multiple times this offseason that they do not intend to pursue free agent slugger Prince Fielder. Rumors can have a life of their own, though, and with the market for Fielder all but nonexistent, Scott Boras (Fielder's agent) reportedly checked in with Marlins owner Jeff Loria yesterday.
Don't get your hopes up; it appears that the Marlins haven't changed their minds at all:
[T]he Marlins' position on the slugging first baseman has not changed. According to a source who has spoken with their front office, they have not begun pursuing Fielder. (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
Boras has seemingly run out of potential teams that are interested in his client, so it's possible that Prince Fielder will eventually have to sign a much smaller deal than was originally predicted. Even then, though, the Marlins don't have a need at first base and would be better off allocating their money into a position of need, like centerfield.
For more on the Marlins' offseason, drop by SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Ever since losing out to the Angels in the bidding for Albert Pujols, the Miami Marlins have been relatively quiet on the rumor mill. They completed a trade the other day for Carlos Zambrano, finally filling in their last rotation spot, but they haven’t made any moves towards pursuing Prince Fielder or any of the other players on the free agents market.
But all that could change soon:
The Marlins will make a strong push for Yoenis Cespedes once the 25-year-old outfielder and Cuban defector is granted free agent status. But the competition is expected to be hot and a lot of teams are lining up to make a run for him.
President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said the Marlins “were very impressed” with Cespdes. “Obviously, as a Cuban, I think it would be an interesting fit in this market and on this ballclub,” Beinfest said. (Clark Spencer, Miami Herald)
The Marlins obviously still think they have money to spend, as they made a very hard push for Albert Pujols. They have a hole in center and, as Beinfest notes, Cespedes would fit in quite well with the Cuban culture in Miami.
There have been a number of teams with strong interest in Cespedes, but based on the Marlins’ actions this offseason, I’m not about to count them out of any bidding war. They have the money and the willingness to spend, so who knows? The Marlins may still have one final offseason move to make.
When the Miami Marlins traded for Carlos Zambrano the other day, the immediate reaction from around the baseball world didn't focus on who won or lost the trade: everyone seemed much more interested by the collection of personalities that will be bubbling down in the Miami clubhouse this season. Ozzie Guillen, Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramirez, and now Carlos Zambrano -- none of these Marlins has a history of being, umm, soft-spoken. They are quickly resembling a circus more so than a baseball team, and it seems nobody can take their eyes off them.
...Which may be exactly what owner Jeff Loria is hoping for. If fans can't take their eyes away from the Marlins this season -- even if that's more for off-the-field reasons than on-the-field -- that's still money in the pocket, and it's a step toward building a fan base. And if the Marlins can actually win and be competitive this upcoming season, that'd only help matters.
Carlos Zambrano is a step in that direction. He provides the Marlins with a decent middle of the rotation option, and as he's only 31 years old, he still has the potential to re-find his past success and perform like an ace. After all, he is only one year removed from posting a 3.33 ERA and 3.71 FIP over 20 starts.
And if there's one manager in baseball that can harness Zambrano's potential, it's likely to be Ozzie Guillen:
Guillen doesn't see Zambrano's pattern of temper tantrums as a problem. Back then, he said: "I like competition, I like him breaking Gatorade coolers. To me, when he kicked the umpire out of the game, that was the funniest thing this year. Awesome." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
"I love, love the way he handles himself on the field," Guillen said. "Many people say he's crazy, he's out of his mind. I love that, I like that attitude. I don't want people to fall asleep on the stinking mound." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
Both Zambrano and Guillen love to let their emotion show, and Guillen has been a mentor and confidant for Zambrano for a number of years already. Based on all this, putting the two of them together on the same team seems like an excellent idea, and it could help the Marlins out on the field. Only time will tell, but I know I'll certainly be watching.
For more on the Zambrano trade, drop by SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins are close to acquiring pitcher Carlos Zambrano from the Chicago Cubs, according to a report.
The Miami Marlins are trying to add another starting pitcher to their rotation, but so far, they haven’t had much success. Gio Gonzalez got traded elsewhere — due in part to the lack of major-league ready prospects in the Marlins’ system — and the Marlins haven’t been heavily involved in any other starting pitcher rumors.
But according to Joe Frisaro from MLB.com, the Marlins aren’t interested in some of the pitchers currently on the market:
There are some free agents on the market as well. But Miami has little to no interest in Edwin Jackson and Joe Saunders. If the Marlins can’t obtain another starter by the start of Spring Training, they will see how those already on the roster perform in camp.
If the Marlins don’t go after Jackson or Saunders, who else is left? Well, the Marlins could always make a run at Matt Garza, but he would certainly come at a hefty price. The same could be said for Wandy Rodriguez, Roy Oswalt, or Wade Davis, but those three are probably the only real attractive options left on the trade market.
The Marlins aren’t going to stumble upon a starting pitcher via trade; they’re going to have to give up something of worth to get back a quality starter. As it stands, they may be best off signing a scrapheap starter and hoping for a rebound season, or else starting the season as is.
The Miami Marlins have signed utility player Greg Dobbs to a two-year deal. Only they know why.
The title to this piece is currently one of the hottest debates among Marlins fans: should the Miami Marlins trade away Hanley Ramirez? According to his column Tuesday morning, Ken Rosenthal thinks they should:
Let's drop the pretense: Trading Ramirez is the Marlins' logical next move, one that could make the team even stronger. [...]
Ramirez, who turns 28 on Dec. 23, is too young to accept a move to third base. If anything, he has a point to prove in 2012 as he tries to recover from surgery on his left shoulder and the worst season of his career.
Rosenthal's argument hinges on the fact that Ramirez it too self-centered to move to another position at 28 years old, and that he is absolutely against playing third base next season. To be fair, both of these points could be true. Ramirez hasn't spoken on the record about his feelings on switching positions, and he has flashed signs in the past of being moody and egotistical.
Also, from his perspective, why would he want to switch positions now? As a shortstop he's one of the best players in the game; as a third baseman, he's still a star, but he's not nearly as valuable. So if Hanley has reservations about moving to third base, it's completely understandable.
I don't buy it, though. Even if Ramirez has reservations about moving to third base, the Marlins hold the ultimate say here. Trading him right now makes little sense for them, as his trade value is at an all-time low after a down 2010 season in which he dealt with injuries. The Marlins want to compete now, and trading Ramirez likely wouldn't net them a comparable amount of major league talent.
So the Marlins are left with one option: appease Hanley and bring him around to the idea of playing third. Theoretically, this shouldn't be too hard to do. After all, the Marlins' recent offseason acquisitions have made them instant contenders for a playoff spot in 2012. If Ozzie Guillen goes into Spring Training praising Ramirez every chance he gets and talking him up as their team star -- which he's already doing -- it should convince Hanley that hey, I'm in a pretty good spot here.
Of course, we have no idea exactly how much Hanley Ramirez would prefer to stay at shortstop and we also don't know him personally, so much of this is idle speculation. But one thing is clear: the Marlins shouldn't be looking to trade Ramirez unless they literally have no other options.
For more on the Marlins, head over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Since the Miami Marlins signed Jose Reyes, there have been conflicting reports on if the Marlins were thinking about trading Hanley Ramirez or not. There were some initial grumblings that Ramirez was not happy with the idea of changing positions and that he'd requested a trade, but those turned out to be false. Both Hanley and the Marlins have remained quiet on this point over the last week, so it's difficult to say exactly what's going on.
MLB.com has learned several teams indeed spoke with Miami officials about Ramirez in Dallas. But the Marlins didn't initiate the conversations. They were measuring what might be out there should they decide to shop their All-Star infielder.
Why should we believe Frisaro after all the other back-and-forth reports on the subject? To begin with, he was one of the few reporters to keep their cool during the Albert Pujols saga at the Winter Meetings, and his reports were generally some of the most reliable. And more to the point, this clarification makes sense.
The Marlins would be foolish to attempt to trade Hanley Ramirez after his poor 2011 season, as they would never receive a fair market value for him. Also, they are a much better team with Ramirez than without him, and trading him would essentially be akin to throwing in the towel on the 2012 season.
After all the Marlins have done to rejuvenate their fan base and to inspire some hope about the team, why would they undo all that by trading away their franchise player? If they can avoid this sort of situation, I'm sure they would do it.
For more on the Marlins, head over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Winter Meetings officially ended Thursday afternoon, and the rumor mill has already begun to slow down in speed and intensity. Many of the big names this offseason are off the market -- Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Wilson chief among them -- and it seems increasingly likely that the Miami Marlins are finished making a splash.
While the Marlins were heavily involved in the Winter Meetings and made the most aggressive offers to both Pujols and Wilson, they missed out on both players. Wilson and Pujols were two of their top two free agent targets, and the Marlins were obviously hoping to sign at least one of the two of them. There had been some speculation that the Marlins might shift their focus after losing out on these two and pursue Prince Fielder instead, but as of now, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Marlins are not interested in Fielder.
If true, this strategy makes sense. The Marlins have already improved their team enough that they will be playoff contenders next season (barring a little bit of good luck with injuries), and Scott Boras -- the mega-agent that represents Prince Fielder -- is going to drive Fielder's price up to astronomical levels. There's already talk of Fielder wanting a seven year deal that approaches $200 million, which wouldn't be a sound investment for the Marlins to make.
The same logic applies to Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish. He's looking to sign with a major league team for 2012, but he will come at a steep price. Considering the spotted history of Japanese pitchers coming over to America -- think Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa -- he'd be a risky acquisition for the price involved.
So for now, the Marlins will likely quiet down on the rumor mill. They have acquired many of the players on the offseason checklist -- Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle -- and missed out on the other players they were most interested in. They will likely still want to add another starter, but may have to look to the trade market to make something happen.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga of an offseason, head over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
If you believe the reports out there at the moment, the Miami Marlins got robbed. Free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson both signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this morning for a combined $333 million, but the Angels weren’t the highest bidder for either player. That’s right, the Marlins were.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins offered C.J. Wilson a six year deal and were willing to pay him $100 million; in the words of Wilson’s agent, they “would not let it go”. And Bob Nightengale from the USA Today is reporting that the Marlins had a 10 year, $275 million offer on the table to Albert Pujols, which Pujols turned down in favor of going to the Angels.
According to C.J. Wilson, "If it was about the money, I’d be a Florida Marlin."
Miami Marlins fans are likely shaking their heads in disbelief. Can you believe that? Did you ever think you would hear those words uttered about the Marlins? An unreal offseason just got a little bit more unbelievable.
In many ways, the Marlins are probably better off having missed on Pujols. For that price, he would have become a crippling force on their payroll by the end of his contract, and there’s no guarantee that the Marlins will be able to maintain a $100 million payroll for many years in the future.
Wilson, though? It’s a shame that the Marlins missed out on him. They were offering him a very fair contract ($16.7 million AAV), but Wilson chose to sign for a bargain in order to play at home in LA. That loss definitely stings.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga of an offseason, head over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Shortly after it was announced that Albert Pujols had signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the news broke that starter C.J. Wilson had decided to accept the Angels’ offer as well. Although the Angles only offered Wilson a five year, $75 million deal — and the Marlins were willing to go to six years, and offer him more money — Wilson lives locally and apparently relished the thought of joining the same rotation as Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. The Angels are going to be scary good next season.
So where does this news leave the Miami Marlins? They have now lost out on both Pujols and Wilson, and from all reports they would still like to add one more player to their team. Prince Fielder emerged yesterday as their backup plan, so it seems likely that the Marlins will dive into the bidding for his services.
Although Fielder is looking for a seven or eight year deal (and most teams only want to offer him five due to his body type), the Marlins seemingly have a decent shot at getting him. They certainly appear to have the money to throw around right now.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga of an offseason, head over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins are by far the most aggressive team on the free agent market this year. If there's a big name player available, you better believe that the Marlins have inquired about them and are in on the bidding. They are serious about improving their team immediately, even if it means they have a lot of risk hanging over their team for the next seven years.
While the rumor mill changes on a near hourly basis, the Marlins' current position is well known: they have offered a six-year deal to C.J. Wilson, and he remains their top priority at the moment. If he instead signs with the Angels -- who will not offer him six years, but have the hometown advantage and seem willing to compensate with boatloads of money -- then the Marlins are ready to pursue Prince Fielder.
No matter which player they acquire, Wilson or Fielder, the Marlins will have dramatically improved their team. Wilson is an ace starter (2.94 ERA, 3.24 FIP in 2011) and Fielder is once of the premier sluggers in the game (38 HRs, .408 wOBA in 2011). Considering teams are currently anxious about signing Fielder to a six or seven year deal -- and he's still only 28 years old -- the Marlins could potentially lock him up and take on much less risk than their 10 year offer to Albert Pujols.
Heck, the Marlins could offer Fielder an aggressive offer -- 7 years, $22 million per year -- and still only be paying him $154 million. When compared with Pujols' $220+ million demands, that's peanuts.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga, head over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Free agent first baseman Albert Pujols will not be signing with the Miami Marlins, according to reports. The Marlins have been in heavy negotiations with the prized first baseman, but it does not appear that he will be signing in Miami according to Jerry Crasnick.
Source says Pujols continues to negotiate with clubs other than Cardinals. But Albert will not be going to Florida. The development obviously increases the likelihood that Pujols will return to St. Louis, though. One thing clear at moment: Marlins are out on Albert Pujols. We'll find out soon exactly how and why it transpired.
The Marlins had made a substantial offer to Pujols, reportedly offering him a massive 10-year contract. It was also reported earlier that if the Marlins signed Mark Buehrle they would break off their pursuit of Pujols.
The Miami Marlins have signed free agent pitcher Mark Buerhle to a contract, according to a report.
Much of the focus on the Miami Marlins over the past 48 hours has been on their pursuit of Albert Pujols. The rumors of his imminent signing have seemingly passed and the Marlins are expected to turn their attention to Prince Fielder and starting pitchers, notably C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle.
But there are other happenings with the Marlins. Newly-acquired Jose Reyes is expected to start at shortstop, and there has been speculation as to what will become of incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Reports indicated that Ramirez would switch to third base, a la Alex Rodriguez once he joined the New York Yankees. Ramirez was reportedly unhappy about the potential move, but tweeted yesterday that his focus will be on the upcoming season.
But now Buster Olney is reporting that Ramirez is seeking a new deal with the Marlins and the front office is having none of it. The Marlins will now reportedly be looking to trade its embattled star. There is no word yet on potential trade partners, nor is it clear what exactly the Marlins will seek in return. ESPN’s Jim Bowden explored some hypothetical scenarios today (ESPN Insider access required).
After being the front-runner to sign star first baseman Albert Pujols last night, it appears that the Miami Marlins will come in second in the bidding to the St. Louis Cardinals. While nothing is official, the Cardinals have matched the Marlins’ offer, and the Marlins have said they will not go any higher. Pujols has roots in the St. Louis area and a de facto no-trade clause with the Cardinals due to MLB’s 10-and-5 rule, so it seems unlikely that he’d chose to go to Miami if the money is equal.
As it has become clear that the Marlins are likely to lose out on Pujols, they have started to aggressively pursue other top free agents on the market. They have already offered a 6-year deal to starter C.J. Wilson, and they have told both Wilson and Mark Buehrle that they will break off their pursuit of Pujols if one of them signs.
Also, the Marlins have expressed interest in the other top slugger on the market: Prince Fielder. Fielder does not have the same allure as Pujols, but he is younger and would likely be a safer investment over the next seven (or so) years. It’s also possible (although maybe not likely) that the Marlins could sign Fielder and one of Wilson/Buehrle for just slightly more than they were willing to pay Pujols.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga, head over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins' frantic offseason continued apace Wednesday when word broke that they've made a six-year contract offer to free-agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, who's spent his entire seven-year career with the Texas Rangers. Tom Verducci reported, and Ken Rosenthal confirmed, the offer. Jon Morosi adds that Willson is "likely to sign with Miami" unless the Los Angeles Angels match or top its offer.
Wilson, 30, had a strong 2011 season with Texas. He finished with a 16-7 record and a 2.94 earned run average, and was rewarded with the first all-star berth of his career. Further, the left-hander ranked No. 9 in the American League in strikeouts per nine innings, with 8.3.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2010, Wilson's record stands at 31-15 with a 3.14 ERA.
Dan Knobler reports Wilson is not expected to decide on his destination "before late tonight, maybe tomorrow."
For more Marlins coverage, please visit Fish Stripes, SB Nation's Marlins blog.
The Miami Marlins have been all over the news recently due to the Jose Reyes signing and Albert Pujols rumors, but they gained some extra press yesterday due to a disgruntled employee. According to Enrique Rojas from ESPN Deportes (translated by Juan Rodriguez):
Hanley Ramiez does not endorse the idea of moving from shortstop to third base and has informed the Miami Marlins that he would prefer changing teams before changing positions.
Leading up to the Jose Reyes signing, there had been much speculation on if Hanley Ramirez was okay with the idea of changing positions. Ramirez stayed vague on the subject and wouldn't come down firmly on one side or the other, leaving the general impression that he was at best hesitant about the move. He has played shortstop his entire life, and a move to third base would decrease his value going forward. And when you consider yourself the star player for your franchise, it's also a shot to the ego to hear that your team has signed another player to take your position from you.
So is Hanley likely disappointed? Sure. Has he requested a trade? That's not so clear.
"A little bit concerned about some of the reports on Hanley," President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said. "It's news to me if he's asked to be traded. It's not something we've discussed." (Juan Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
For now, we'll just have to wait and see what shakes up. My assumption is that if the Marlins sign Albert Pujols or any other large free agents, Ramirez's concerns will all get washed away as he realizes the Marlins could be playoff contenders next season. That's surely reason enough to remain in Miami.
At 8:00pm last night, it looked like a near certain thing that Albert Pujols would be selecting a new team that night. The Miami Marlins had met with the commissioner's office to discuss their creative contract offer -- which according to Jayson Stark, might offer Pujols a stake in club ownership -- and they were pushing hard for a decision to be reached that night. The Marlins want to know what Pujols will do, as they still have other free agents on their radar.
But here we are now: 9:00am on Wednesday morning and no conclusion to this saga in sight. A "mystery team" supposedly entered the bidding for Pujols late last night, but then promptly dropped out of the running after their identity was determined (the Angels). Pujols appears to be down to two options: the Cardinals or the Marlins.
According to recent reports, the Cardinals have matched the Marlins offer of 10 years, $220 million. The Marlins will likely need to increase their bid, or hope that their "creative" additions to the contract could entice Pujols to South Beach. Considering Pujols' ties to the St. Louis area, though, they'll likely have to offer him more money to get it done.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga, head over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
After a rather uneventful Monday, the Winter Meetings have been full of drama today. The Miami Marlins are in the midst of making one final push to sign Albert Pujols, and it appears that news should come out sometime tonight on where Pujols will go.
If you’re just catching up on the action, here are the major rumors that came out this afternoon:
As of 8:30pm, the Marlins and Pujols had been in a meeting for the past half hour. This thing is coming down to the wire, folks, so keep your eye on Twitter tonight.
For breaking news on Albert Pujols’ situation, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter.
Word broke late Monday night that the Miami Marlins had offered Albert Pujols a 10 year contract, but there was no word on the size of the deal. Since the Marlins had low-balled Pujols their first time giving him an offer, it seemed entirely possible that the Marlins weren't offering Pujols a competitive offer. Sure, the deal could be 10 years long, but if the Marlins were only guaranteeing Pujols $18 million per season, there was no way he would sign with them.
As it turns out, though, the Marlins are for real:
The hangup right now seems to be over a no-trade clause -- Pujols wants one; the Marlins don't want to give him one -- but I'm willing to go on record and say that I believe Pujols ends up in Miami next season. The Marlins need Pujols more than the Cardinals do, both on the field and off, and this is their one shot to re-energize the franchise and give it a new direction. Pujols would put them in playoff contention, and he'd represent a new start for the troubled franchise.
The Marlins don't have much money committed in future years down the road, so they're quite the dangerous bidding opponent. They're not concerned about being "baseball smart" right now; they're willing to throw everything they have at the players they want. They don't care about how it will affect their franchise seven years down the road; if they don't get off to a hot start in their new stadium, their franchise will have a bleak future in seven years as it is.
Watch out, Cardinals...the Marlins are coming on hard. And you'd better not underestimate them.
The Miami Marlins met with Albert Pujols' agent late Monday afternoon, but that apparently wasn't enough for the Fish; they also met with his agent again late last night, and they increased their offer in the process. While they originally offered Pujols a low-ball deal that was worth less than $200 million, but they appear to have gone on the offensive:
The Marlins are now seen as the primary threat to the Cardinals, as the Cubs were never serious bidders and no other team has entered the bidding yet. The Cardinals have yet to modify their original offer to Pujols from last January -- 9 years at $22 million per season -- so that's the bar the Marlins need to clear.
But as Buster Olney reminds everyone, the hangup with the Cardinals' original offer to Pujols was never about the length; it was about the money. He wanted more than an average value of $22 million per season, and since we don't know how much money the Marlins offered Pujols, it's unclear how serious their offer is. It's possible that the deal matches the Cardinals' offer of $22 million/year, although it seems unlikely based on their initial offer.
Both the Cardinals and Marlins are expected to meet with Albert Pujols' agent Tuesday, and things may start to get serious. This could be a wild 48 hours.
To join in the conversation about the Marlins' offseason, head on over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
After the Miami Marlins signed Jose Reyes late Sunday night, the next juicy rumor floating around was that the Marlins were still hot in pursuit of Albert Pujols. Even though the Marlins have already increased their payroll by a significant amount — and signing Pujols would likely push their 2012 payroll over the $100 million mark — they simply don’t know how to stop. They’re like a car stuck in drive, if the driver also had their foot glued to the accelerator.
And things just keep moving faster and faster. Originally the Marlins were supposed to meet with Pujols’ agent on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, but that meeting has gotten pushed ahead:
Marlins are meeting with Albert Pujols’s agent, Dan Lozano, later today… Momentum continues to build. (Buster Olney, ESPN)
Make no mistake: it would be insane for the Marlins to sign Pujols. That’s not to say he’s not a worthy investment — he’s still arguably the best player in baseball — but if the Marlins signed Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols in the same offseason, it’d literally be the exact opposite of how they have run their franchise over the past 18 years. It would represent a seismic shift in the direction and focus of the organization, and it’d instantly turn the Marlins into a mid-to-large market team.
I’m still in shock from the Reyes signing, so I’m not willing to count the Marlins out on anyone right now. We simply don’t know how high they intend to raise their payroll, and they appear to be working in a feverish frenzy to sign as many big name free agents as quickly as possible. It’s impossible to tell what they’ll do next, as we have no history to compare this to. We’re off the edge of the map, folks.
Will the Marlins sign Pujols? Only time will tell, but I’m not going to bet against them.
To join in the conversation about the Marlins’ offseason, head on over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
With the signings of Heath Bell and Jose Reyes, the Miami Marlins have already spent more this offseason than they have in the past five offseasons combined, but they aren't ready to stop yet. According to Jayson Stark from ESPN, the Marlins are prepared to make a large push to sign Albert Pujols next:
Sources told ESPN.com on Sunday night that the Marlins still plan to make an aggressive run at Pujols, even after committing $106 million to Reyes over the next six years, and plan to meet with Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, Monday or Tuesday at the winter meetings.
Pujols would certainly make the Marlins a better team, and it's possible that he's going to come at a comparatively "cheap" price considering no large market team is in on the bidding. At the same time, though, the Marlins don't need to sign Pujols. They moved Logan Morrison to the outfield because of their depth at first base, and Gaby Sanchez is a competent, valuable player. It's not as if first base is a position of need.
The Marlins appear to be working with the strategy of, "If you can sign a Hall of Fame talent, you have to do it." And I can't say I blame them. That money would probably be better spent on a starting pitcher or two, but I can't fault the Marlins for making a run at the best, most consistent player of the past 10 years.
At some point, though, Marlins fans have to start asking questions. Where is all this money coming from? Why is it that the Marlins could never barely afford a payroll over $50 million before, but all of a sudden they're able to afford all these big name players and have a payroll at or above $100 million? A new stadium will certainly increase revenues -- especially when you have taxpayers giving it to you for free -- but the extent of this change is suspicious. Were the Marlins holding back before?
The free agent short stop spent the first nine seasons of his career on the New York Mets, originally signing as an amateur free agent in 1999. The 28-year old shortstop the first big splash the new look Miami Marlins have made so far since offering up a deal to Albert Pujols. With the reported addition of Reyes to the infield, it's expected that current Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez will move to third base. Ramirez has expressed reluctance to do so in the past, but the addition of Reyes to the left side of the infield should make it rather formidable.
For his career, Reyes is a .292 hitter and coming off a career best .337 average in 2011. Last season, Reyes had 44 RBI and 39 stolen bases on the season.
To join in the conversation about the Marlins’ offseason, head on over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
It appears that those rumors from Friday about the Miami Marlins getting “impatient” with the free agency process were spot on. According to Enrique Rojas from ESPN, the Marlins have just offered Reyes a 6 year, $111 million deal.
If this rumor is correct — and it has now been backed up by Jon Heyman from Sports Illustrated and others — then the Marlins are making a dramatic push to sign Reyes before the Winter Meetings get into swing. Normally more teams enter the bidding for top free agents during the Meetings, so it’s possible the Marlins want to get Reyes locked up now to ensure that they don’t lose him to another bidder.
However, it doesn’t appear that there are any teams out there interested in guaranteeing anywhere near that much money on Reyes. The Mets were the primary other team in the bidding, but they are not willing to go any higher than just above $100 million over six years. There were no other teams in the bidding, although it had been rumored that the Tigers could get involved late.
Congratulations Marlins, you may have just bought yourself a new shortstop. Reyes is a risky player to give a guaranteed contract this large, but hey, it certainly is a flashy move. And it will likely result in a couple more butts in the seats next season.
To join in the conversation about the Marlins’ offseason, head on over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
If you believed all the rumors flying around Friday afternoon, the Miami Marlins were supposedly making one final push for Jose Reyes and getting ready to offer him an ultimatum. "Sign now, or we're out." They theoretically wanted to get him to sign on the dotted line before the Winter Meetings started up in earnest Monday morning.
Obviously, that didn't happen. Reyes is still on the market, and it appears that the Marlins never actually offered him an ultimatum. They will simply have to wait for him to make his decision during the Winter Meetings.
It's understandable that the Marlins would have wanted Reyes to sign before the Winter Meetings -- more teams will likely enter the bidding during the Meetings and Reyes' price will only escalate -- but they never had the leverage to force Reyes into making a decision early. Sure, they could tell Reyes that they would retract their offer if he didn't sign by Friday, but does anyone actually believe they would do so? That's an easy bluff to call.
This sequence of events does raise some interesting questions about the Marlins' front office, as they appear to be getting impatient with the offseason procress. In contrast to the Tampa Bay Rays -- who rarely make a move before or during the Winter Meetings, but wait for the market to settle -- the Marlins want everything to happen now:
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest suggested that he feels as if the team is behind schedule with its offseason makeover. (Miami reportedly has signed closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27-million contract that has yet to be announced.) "It'd be nice to have some things done," Beinfest told the Palm Beach Post. "I'm not gonna use the word 'disappointed,' but we'd like to have some players in place."
What's the rush, Beinfest? Free agents are only more expensive early in the offseason, and Spring Training doesn't start until February no matter how fast you put your roster together. Rushing decisions and feeling like you have to make moves is one way to ensure you're going to make some poor decisions, spending more money than you would otherwise.
To join in the conversation about the Marlins' offseason, head on over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins may be one of the last two teams in the hunt for free agent shortstop Jose Reyes, but would signing Reyes be a mistake?
The Florida Marlins' efforts to sign free-agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle have met complications, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports citing "major-league sources." The holdup? Miami has yet not agreed to include a no-trade clause in its contract offer to the left-hander.
Given the potential difficulty of landing Buehrle now--as Rosenthal notes, no one on the Marlins roster has a no-trade clause, but several teams with Buehrle on their radar are willing to offer one--the Marlins might soon turn their attention to Texas Rangers southpaw C.J. Wilson, Rosenthal says. Miami joins the Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, and Washington Nationals among teams attempting to sign the seven-year veteran.
Buehrle has spent his entire 12-season career with the Chicago White Sox, with an earned run average of 3.83 and a 161-119 record. In his most recent campaign, Buehrle went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA. The 32-year-old also earned his third consecutive Gold Glove.
Wilson, 30, has a career record of 43-35, but only became a full-time starter in 2010. Since then, he's 31-15 in 67 starts. In 2011, he went 16-7 in an American League-best 34 starts, tallying a 2.95 ERA and picking up his first All-Star berth.
The Miami Marlins have been active over the past few days, signing closer Heath Bell to a contract and making noises about heating up their pursuit of Jose Reyes, but when it comes to their 2012 team, the most important news story of all came out Thursday afternoon
Josh Johnson is the ace of the Marlins' pitching staff, and when he's healthy, he's one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. In 2011, he jumped out to a blistering start to the season -- 1.64 ERA, 2.64 FIP through 60 innings -- before being sidelined for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. His injury kept causing him problems every time he tried to come back, but he's been pain free for the past few months and is hoping to be completely healthy for the start of the 2012 season.
If the Marlins want to compete next season, they need Johnson to be healthy and give them 180-200 innings. So while all the free agent signings and rumors are fun, this is one of the stories Marlins fans should be most concerned about.
For more on Miami, follow along with SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Jose Reyes was supposed to be one of the biggest names on the free agent market this season. That still might be the case, but the market for him has not been quite as fruitful as some might have been expecting. According to Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors, Jose Reyes might have to choose between the Mets and the Marlins, as all of the other interested teams seems to have fallen by the wayside.
The Braves, Giants and Phillies are out of the bidding, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman, with the Brewers and Tigers seen as "iffy" or very unlikely candidates by Heyman and CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. So, unless a fringe suitor like the Red Sox get involved, it may be down to just the two NL East rivals.
If it's between the Mets and the Marlins, the Marlins might have an advantage because they are the new team in the picture with a new stadium and all sorts of excitement surrounding them. If Reyes is tired of the Mets, it seems like the Marlins might be his only option.
If you had any doubts before, toss those out the window: the Miami Marlins are the real deal. After signing closer Heath Bell to a three year, $27 million contract late Thursday night, the Marlins have showed the rest of the league -- and other free agents -- that they're serious about spending money to improve their 2012 team. Their next target? Jose Reyes.
#Marlins are pretty optimistic on Reyes. but they are considering upping 1st bid soon to try for quick resolution. (Jon Heyman, ESPN)
The Marlins have been after Jose Reyes for some time already, and he appears to be one of their top offseason priorities. Their first offer wasn't overwhelming -- six year, around $70-90 million -- but Reyes also doesn't have many other options. The Mets are the only other team in the bidding at this point, and the Marlins have certainly been more aggressive so far. If they are willing to increase their offer some and make a quick hard sell, they might be able to wrap up Reyes for a reasonable price.
Of course, Heyman went on to note that some in the industry think the Detroit Tigers could get in on the bidding for Reyes before it's all said and done. They have a hole to fill at shortstop and money to spend, so the Marlins shouldn't get too cocky or optimistic. Teams can enter the bidding at any point of the negotiations, so until the Marlins have Reyes' signature on that bottom line, nothing is for certain.
To join in the conversation about the Marlins' recent aggressiveness, head on over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Jayson Stark#Marlins agree to 3-year $27M deal w Heath Bell, pending physical. Expected to take physical tomorrow. More to come at http://t.co/o5eb6fmG 9 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto
The deal, which is worth an average of $9M per year and has an option for a fourth year, should give the Marlins one of the most dominant closers in the game. In the 2011 season, Bell pitched 62 and 2/3 innings with the San Diego Padres, earning 43 saves, 31 shutdowns, and just 8 meltdowns.
Last year, the Marlins employed Leo Nunez, now (or always, in a way) Juan Oviedo, as their closer. In his 64+ innings as the 9th inning man, he managed 36 saves with a below average 4.06 ERA and 3.96 FIP.
Interestingly, Nunez had the same number of meltdowns as Bell while also managing two more shutdowns.
For more on the Marlins, check out SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The rumors surrounding the Miami Marlins have cooled down over the past couple weeks, but that doesn't mean that the Marlins are any less serious about acquiring star talent than they were a few weeks ago. They have still been linked to Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, Mark Buehrle, and C.J. Wilson, and nearly every free agent that has met with the team has come away impressed. They're rolling out the red carpet for free agents, and from the looks of it, they intend to make a splash.
It looks like it's time to add another name to that list. Late last night, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Marlins had met with closer Heath Bell, and that report was confirmed this morning by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post:
Heath Bell is one of the top relief pitchers still available on the market, and he'd provide the Marlins with a "proven closer" to replace Leo Nunez (who may or may not be able to return to the US due to immigration issues). Bell saved 43 games last season while posting a 2.44 ERA, although his peripheral statistics where slightly down from previous years. His strikeout rate dropped from 30% to around 20%, and his 3.23 FIP was his highest since 2008.
Bell will be 34 years old next season and he's had injury issues in the past, so there are concerns about how well he will age. He seems to want more than the two-year deal the Padres have offered him, so it may not be wise for the Marlins to invest some of their limited financial flexibility into an old closer. After all, they did have one of the strongest bullpens in the majors last season (3.44 ERA, 7th best in majors), so that area isn't necessarily a weak spot on the team.
For more on the Marlins, check out SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins met with free agent starter C.J. Wilson on Monday, even though the common assumption among analysts is that they have little shot at signing him. Wilson is the top free agent pitcher this offseason, and he's being pursued by teams with much larger payrolls than the Marlins, like the Yankees and Rangers.
Someone apparently forgot to tell that to the Marlins, though:
Over lunch at Joe's Stone Crab and during a visit to their new stadium, the Marlins told left-hander C.J. Wilson that they want him in their starting rotation next year.
"They rolled out the red carpet. They seem to have a plan and made it very clear they'd like CJ to be a part of it,' said Bob Garber, Wilson's agent. (Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post)
Although it's unclear whether the Marlins made Wilson an official offer or not, Wilson apparently expects to make his decision at the Winter Meetings next week.
It still seems unlikely that the Marlins will land him, but who knows? They are reportedly interested in adding starting pitching depth to their rotation, and signing Wilson would certainly be a large splash. If nothing else, we can now add Wilson's name to the long list of free agents that the Marlins are apparently "seriously courting."
To join in the conversation about this rumor, check out SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
The Miami Marlins have been the darlings of the MLB offseason so far. They have offers out to some of the biggest position players out there, so there's no reason why they shouldn't get it on the best starting pitcher as well, right? Well according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel, the Marlins will host Wilson on Monday.
The buzz has died down a bit on the Marlins since their initial free agent flurry, but it should start picking up again. Add left-hander C.J. Wilson among those the Marlins will try to woo with a South Florida visit and stadium tour. Wilson, who many consider the best available starting pitcher in the free agent market, will be in town Monday. Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Albert Pujols already have come through and received offers.
Wilson might cost a little bit less than some of the other free agents that the Marlins are going after, but he will still carry a pretty significant price tag.
The Miami Marlins were linked to Gio Gonzalez yesterday afternoon, but a mere 24 hours later, it appears that they have given up on their pursuit. According to Clark Spencer from the Miami Herald:
While the Marlins have spoken to the A's about a possible trade for lefty Gio Gonzalez, Oakland's demands for the Hialeah product -- specifically, some sort of package containing either Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton -- have been flatly rejected.
This development comes as no surprise, as Gio Gonzalez is one of the top young left-handed starters in the American League -- he posted a 3.12 ERA and 3.64 FIP in 2011 -- and the Athletics would need to receive quite the package in return for him.
The Marlins seem loathe to part with Logan Morrison, but he's been brought up as a trade chip with every team they've discussed making a trade with. The Rays are interested in him, the White Sox wanted him as compensation for Ozzie Guillen, and now the Athletics are tossing out his name. If the Marlins want to acquire a starting pitcher this offseason via trade, they had better start mentally preparing themselves to trade Morrison.
The Miami Marlins have been linked to nearly every big free agent on this year's market: Albert Pujols, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, Ryan Madson, and so on and so forth. Add one more name to that list, as Clark Spencer from the Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami Marlins will meet with starter C.J. Wilson after Thanksgiving:
C.J. Wilson is making the rounds, and one of his East Coast stops will include a post-Thanksgiving visit to South Florida to meet with the Marlins, who seem to be throwing out the welcome mat for every available free agent. The Marlins met with Wilson's agent at the G.M. meetings last week in Milwaukee. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 13 teams are interested in the free agent left-hander.
The Marlins obviously don't expect to land every free agent that they're courting, but they seem to be putting themselves in position to make a run at a number of players and sign a handful of them. With staff ace Josh Johnson recovering from an injury that made him miss most of 2011, starting pitching is one of their offseason priorities, and Wilson is the top pitcher on the free agent market.
However, the Marlins will probably face stiff competition for Wilson. Although the Rangers will likely take a pass on him now that they are moving closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation, the New York Yankees are in desperate need of pitching and will likely make a hard run at Wilson. The Marlins don't have the deep pocketbooks to compete with the Yankees, so it still seems most likely that they sign Mark Buehrle instead of Wilson.
The source says three different players have been discussed as potential pieces for the deal. All three players played significant time with the Marlins last season. It is unlikely that all three would be involved in the deal.
The Marlins have been particularly vocal this offseason as they attempt to revamp their franchise for the 2012 MLB season. They have already extended offers to top free agents, including Albert Pujols (link), Jose Reyes (link), and Mark Buehrle (link).
Gio Gonzalez had a career year with the Marlins in 2011, pitching 202 innings of 3.12 ERA and 3.64 FIP ball, his second straight 200 IP, sub-3.50 ERA season. Gonzalez will only be 26 in the 2012 season and would likely cost the Marlins a hefty price in prospect because he will not become a free agent until 2016.
If the Fish want to acquire Gonzalez (and I would not be averse to this, since Gonzalez is very affordable and quite good), the team will have to pony up good talent in return. One of the chips would undoubtedly have to be Logan Morrison, as the A's would not be interested in an older player like Gaby Sanchez.
The Miami Marlins have been hot on the trail of a lot of big name free agents this offseason, the most mysterious of which is Cuban outfielder turned defected free agent Yoenis Cespedes. According to a tweet from Peter Gammons, the price for Cespedes might be a little bit more than people were originally projecting.
That's an awful lot of money to pay for a guy who has not played a single game in the American professional system. He certainly has a world of talent, but there are plenty of examples of players who show that they can play at a world class level overseas, then fail to translate that success when they reach the Major Leagues.
Cespedes could very well be the player everyone thinks he is going to. But does it make sense for the Marlins, who seem to be on the verge of maing a real push if they can spend wisely, to make that kind of risk when they are in on other big name free agents who could be a safer option?
If you believe Dan LeBatard from the Dan LeBatard Show on 790 AM, then the answer would be "Yes." According to LeBatard, the Miami Marlins believe that Albert Pujols is older than his listed age of 31 years old. This is a stunning accusation, as Pujols is the top free agent on the market and any doubt about his age could significantly impact his upcoming contract.
Is this rumor true, though? I'm skeptical. First of all, radio hosts are not typically the most well-connected or trustworthy sources. While certain hosts may get juicy rumors and information, overall, most big news stories are broken by beat writers or professional rumor-mongers like Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal. For a person like LeBatard to break a story like this seems suspicious, and it seems more likely that it's a nugget dropped by someone with a blatant agenda.
Also, the Marlins reportedly just offered Albert Pujols a contract for nine years and close to $200 million. If they seriously believed that he was older than 31 years old, they would be insane for offering him a contract of that length and scope. Even when talking about the best player in baseball, you don't want to be committing yourself to paying him a huge salary when he's 41+ years old.
Some Latin American ballplayers have been known to lie about their age and identity in order to make the majors and make more money, and the Marlins know this fact all too well; it came out this past season that their closer, Leo Nunez, was playing under an assumed name and was a year older than reported. But there have never been any rumors of this kind about Pujols, and from all reports, he's one of the most upstanding players in baseball today.
I sincerely hope this rumor didn't originate in the Marlins' front office; if so, it looks like a dirty, cheap negotiating tactic. Maybe they have a justifiable reason for believing Pujols is older than he's stated, but for now, this rumor is simply too speculative to be given any consideration. This is a story best forgotten about.
For more Miami's offseason, see our analysis on why Albert Pujols isn't a good fit for the Marlins.
The Miami Marlins have recently been linked to Albert Pujols in a number of rumors. But how much of a boost would the Marlins see in their win total and attendance if they actually signed him?
The Miami Marlins have expressed serious interest in Jose Reyes since day one of free agency this offseason, and from all reports, they are one of the frontrunners in the race to sign him. This has raised a serious question, though: what would the Marlins do with current shortstop Hanley Ramirez?
The simple answer is to move Ramirez to a different position, as his defense has always been somewhat suspect at short. Ramirez hasn't expressed interest in changing positions, though, and some rumors have suggested that he's strongly opposed to moving.
But as time goes by, it doesn't seem like the Marlins are cooling in their pursuit of Reyes, and they appear comfortable assuming the Ramirez will switch positions if they do actually sign Reyes. Case in point:
Marlins source told me that if they sign Reyes their intent is to move Ramirez to 3B and not CF...must think Dominguez isn't going to hit. (Jim Bowden, ESPN XM Radio)
Matt Dominguez is one of the Marlins' top rated prospects, and he's expected to reach the majors in 2012. He doesn't have a particularly strong bat, but he hits with moderate power (31 extra base hits in 380 PA in Triple-A) and his defense is superb. If the Marlins do move Ramirez to third base, they'd be blocking Dominguez and force themselves to either trade him or move him to another position.
It's difficult to say how all these hypothetical situations would play out, but this looks like a poor combination of events for the Marlins. With one move, they could piss off their star player and block their top prospect -- I mean, who wouldn't want to do that?
Over the past two weeks, the Miami Marlins have been taking their fans on an unanticipated roller coaster ride. They opened up the free agency period by being exceptionally aggressive in pursuing top free agents like Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Albert Pujols, and they hit the high point of the ride last Friday with the unveiling of their new name, logo, and uniforms.
Since that point, though, stories about the Marlins have taken on a shade of skepticism. The Marlins' offers to Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols turned out to be lower than originally reported, and they have bordered on the edge of credibility. What exactly are the Marlins after here? Are they actually serious about pursuing these free agents? Or is this media storm just one giant publicity stunt?
While it's difficult to say from the outside looking in, things aren't looking good for the Marlins. Jon Heyman from Sports Illustrated reported last night that the Marlins are "not serious players" for Albert Pujols, and that Pujols' agent has restarted discussions with the St. Louis Cardinals.
This news shouldn't come as a huge surprise, as Pujols was never a perfect fit for the Marlins' roster and they have stated that their priority this offseason is pitching. However, it just keeps the questions swirling, and it doesn't do anything to dispel the idea that the Marlins aren't serious about actually signing a big name free agent. Anyone can talk the talk, but when push comes to shove, are you willing to make that large of an investment?
To the Marlins' credit, inking Pujols to a nine-year, $200+ million contract isn't the best business decision for a team that isn't ready to pass the $100 million payroll plateau. They have to be careful with their assets, and signing Pujols would put all their eggs in one basket. Baseball doesn't share many similarities with the stock market, but one thing is the same between the two: it's best to diversify.
Also, it's entirely possible this is merely one stage of the negotiations and the Marlins will come on hard once the Cardinals have laid their offer on the table. It's still early in the offseason, after all. Let's hold off on our judgement about the new and improved Miami Marlins for a little bit longer.
The Miami Marlins have been the early stars of the offseason rumor mill, with legitimate interest in two of the top free agents on the market in Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes. But even though they have interest in those players, it does not mean they are willing to exceed $100 million in payroll, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
“The way we’re doing business is different,” (Marlins President Dave) Samson said. “We still have to be smart. We still can’t make up for injuries. We’re definitely going to have a higher payroll, but we need the players to perform and we need them to be good. The way we’ve done business is trying to get by with our revenue streams, and now our revenue streams are higher. We have a larger pool of talent available to us than we’ve ever had."
If the Marlins were to add both Pujols and Reyes they would almost certainly exceed $100 million. Those two players along would probably have about $40 million in committed salary a year.
When it came out this morning that the Miami Marlins had offered Albert Pujols a nine year contract, most people jumped on the rumor as an indication that the Marlins were serious about acquiring Pujols. Reports came out indicating that the Marlins had offered Pujols $225 million — considerably more than the Cardinals had offered at the beginning of last season — but it turns out those reports were false. Clark Spencer from the Miami Herald has set the record straight, noting that the Marlins offered Pujols a nine-year contract worth less than $200 million.
So how did the $225 million rumor originate? When Tim Brown from Yahoo! Sports broke the story this morning that the Marlins had offered Pujols a nine year deal, he got a little liberal with the details:
Their standing offer to Albert Pujols is believed to be for nine years. With a competitive average annual value (say $25 million), that’s $225 million, minimum, and that’s more than what the St. Louis Cardinals are believed to have offered in the spring.
As I mentioned at the time, that part about the money involved sounded like pure speculation on his part. It was entirely possible that the Marlins had offered a deal for less than the Cardinals had offered; we simply had no way of knowing at the time.
Late this afternoon, Jon Heyman tweeted that most GMs are skeptical that the Marlins will actually land Pujols, and this rumor would seem to confirm that. The Cardinals will surely be willing to go over $200 million to sign Pujols, so although the Marlins could still increase their offer, this raises suspicions all over again. How serious are the Marlins about making a run at these big name free agents? Are they in it for the publicity or the players?
Most likely, the answer is a little bit of both.
The Miami Marlins have been busy on the rumor mill of late, and it’s getting to be almost impossible to keep up with all the rumors surrounding the team. Many of these rumors are likely mere idle speculation and will not come to pass, but still, the Marlins have had an exciting beginning to the offseason so far.
We’ve covered the recent rumors surrounding Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols already in these electronic pages, but what about the rest of the action out there? Here are all the other juicy tidbits out there right now about the Marlins:
The Miami Marlins are the only team, as of yet, to offer a contract to free agent shortstop Jose Reyes. But it would be unwise to count out his former team, the New York Mets, from contention considering how important he is to that team and organization. But according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, Reyes might be starting to get out of the Mets' price range.
Yet for a club that fully acknowledges it's in teardown mode, the Mets also realize that Reyes' price -- more in years than dollars at this juncture -- is creeping beyond their comfort level. If there's any good news, it's that the Mets fully expect to receive two draft picks for losing Reyes, even as compensation for other players will change thanks to the nearly completed collective bargaining agreement.
The Marlins reportedly offered Reyes a six-year contract with about $90 million. But sources think that Reyes is looking for a contract somewhere in the range of $100 million. If the Mets are already weary of a $90 million contract than I can't imagine they'll stay in the bidding for very long if the price rises.
Baseball news has slowed down as the annual GM Meeting is happening in Milwaukee this week, but that hasn't kept the Miami Marlins from staying active. They have already made contract offers to Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols, and according to the Miami Herald, they have met with starter Mark Buehrle for the second time in a week and offered him a contract:
But we know that the Marlins spoke again with Jeff Berry, the agent for lefty Mark Buehrle.
Buehrle hasn't grabbed headlines the way Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols have for the Marlins, who have offered contracts to all three. But the Marlins, who have made it clear that their priority this offseason is pitching, are making a strong push for Buehrle. (Clark Spencer, Miami Herald)
There's been no word on how much the Marlins offered Buehrle, but he does appear to be one of their key priorities. While Buehrle is one of the top free agent pitchers available this season, the Marlins are lucking out that he has flown under the radar for the most part. The Yankees are focusing on C.J. Wilson instead, so the only other teams that have expressed interest in Buehrle so far are the Cubs, White Sox, Nationals, and Diamondbacks. To this point, though, none of those teams has been as aggressive as the Marlins.
For more on the Marlins' offseason, join the conversation over at SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.
Every day now, the Miami Marlins are making the news for some rumor concerning their pursuit of free agents Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols. Yesterday, the big story was that the Marlins had offered Reyes a 6 year, $90 million contract. If that wasn't enough to blow your socks off, today's rumor about the Marlins and Albert Pujols should do the trick:
The Miami Marlins aren't messing around. Their standing offer to Albert Pujols is believed to be for nine years. With a competitive average annual value (say $25 million), that's $225 million, minimum, and that's more than what the St. Louis Cardinals are believed to have offered in the spring. Is it possible that two weeks into November Pujols could already have what will be his best offer? (Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports)
So much for those frugal Florida Marlins, eh? If this report is true, then the Marlins would be looking to increase their payroll significantly in 2012 and could top $100 million. It would also position themselves as one of the front-runners for Albert Pujols, which is something nobody seemed to believe could happen even yesterday.
Other news sources have picked up on the $225 million figure, but in my opinion, it sounds as though Tim Brown is largely hypothesizing about the dollars involved. He heard that the Marlins offer for Pujols is for nine years, and then he's plugging in a dollar value that seems to make sense. It's entirely possible that the Marlins came in lower than a $25 million/year average salary in their offer, so I'd hold off on the jubilation until we get a more solid report on the money involved.
The Cardinals supposedly offered Pujols a nine-year, $210 million deal before this past season, so the Marlins would have had to clear that benchmark if they wanted to be taken seriously. It seems likely that they did surpass that total, but by how much? Will it be enough to woo Pujols, and are they willing to go higher if need be?
One thing is clear, though: the Marlins are more serious about Pujols than most people expected. It may be time we start wrapping our mind around the idea of Albert Pujols playing next season in these lovely duds.
It's been a busy week for the Miami Marlins. Not only did they unveil their new uniforms and logo last Friday night, but they have also been exceptionally busy on the hot stove. They have reportedly made a 6 year, $90 million offer to Jose Reyes, and are hot on the scent of other top free agents.
The Marlins made Reyes an offer last week, major league sources say, and also offered deals to at least three other free agents - first baseman Albert Pujols, left-hander Mark Buehrle and closer Ryan Madson. (Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports)
There have been no rumors suggesting how much the Marlins offered any of these players, but they did meet with Pujols and Buehrle over the course of last week. Considering the Marlins met with Reyes and made him an offer, it seems likely that they did the same with each of these players.
Do the Marlins intend to sign all of these players? Surely not. It's early in the offseason and they can make offers without worrying that all the players will accept the deals immediately. Other teams will try and outbid them, but this does position the Marlins to be involved in all the major free agents on the market this year.
They may not end up signing a handful of these players if the bidding gets too high, but odds are they will reach agreements with at least one of them. Heck, at this point, they will need to sign at least one of these free agents in order to keep this offseason from looking like a farce and a tease.
The question is, who will it be?
The Marlins' offer to Reyes was six years, $90 million, according to one source; the team is declining comment. Obviously, the offer was not tempting enough for Reyes to accept immediately. But it was only a first offer. (Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports)
The New York Mets are also interested in Reyes and are expected to make a hard run at him, and recent rumors have suggested that Reyes will not accept a deal that's less than $100 million in total. This makes the Marlins' offer look rather low. Not only are they only offering him $90 million in total, the average annual salary he would receive under this contract would be only $15 million. Most analysts believe Reyes could get an average salary around $17-20 million per season, so while this offer is certainly large, it doesn't seem like it's big enough.
As Ken Rosenthal notes, some people in baseball are skeptical about how serious the Marlins are about spending money. Just last offseason the Marlins had to be forced by MLB to spend money and sign starter Josh Johnson to an extension, so if all the current rumors about them are true, their organization would be pulling a complete 180.
Then again, it'd be silly for the Marlins to put their best offer for Reyes on the table right from the beginning. The Mets are sure to match their first offer and try to outbid them, so the Marlins are smart to start low. Are the Marlins being smart and playing the bidding game, or is their interest all a ruse to increase excitement about the club?
Judging solely based on the Marlins' history, it seems most likely that it's the latter. Call me an optimist, though: I think they're more serious about adding talent than Rosenthal suggests.
Despite the rumors that the Miami Marlins are hotly pursuing Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez is not excited and not ready to switch positions.
Should the Marlins go crazy with the free agent market this year? It depends on what their ultimate goal is -- and what price they are willing to pay.
Now wouldn’t that be something. The Miami Marlins, yes that’s right, the Marlins, may just be legitimate contenders in the Albert Pujols Sweepstakes after all. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Marlins made a serious offer to the future Hall of Fame slugger after meeting with him this week. According to Rosenthal, the Marlins also are pursuing Jose Reyes as well.
Sources: #Marlins have made substantial offers to both Reyes and Pujols. #STLCards #Mets #mlb
Wow, wow, wow! What a way to open a new ball park that would be. After years of underspending on player salaries, it appears like the Marlins are serious about acquiring some top-shelf talent to draw fans to the new stadium set to open for the 2012 season. Would Pujols really consider going from a contender like St. Louis to an organization that’s languished for the vast majority of its existence? Perhaps so considering he just won a World Series ring. As for Reyes, it’s not like the Mets were perennial contenders during his time there. If the money’s right, why not head to South Florida? Not exactly a terrible destination if you’re young, rich and a Spanish speaking ball player.
Stay tuned for more developments on the MLB Free Agency front as they become available.
In recent days, the Miami Marlins have been rumored to be interested in nearly every big name free agent available. They met with Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. They flew a contingent to the Dominican Republic to check out Yoennis Cespedes. They have been linked in rumors to Carlos Beltran, Prince Fielder, and Heath Bell.
But without a doubt, this is by far the biggest rumor concerning the Marlins that has hit the hot stove this offseason. Heck, possibly ever.
Albert Pujols is the biggest name on the free agent market, and he’s widely expected to sign a deal worth in excess of $150 million. He’s been the best first baseman in the majors over the past 10 years, and his career is currently on track for the Hall of Fame. To state the obvious, if the Marlins could sign him, it would be a coup for their franchise.
There are two possible scenarios here: the Marlins are seriously considering making a run at Pujols, or they are merely trying to stir up interest in the club in an effort to reinvigorate their fanbase. With their new stadium set to open, they are certainly going to spend money this offseason, but the common assumption has been that they would increase their payroll to around the $80-100 million level. If they are serious about courting Pujols and about upgrading their rotation, though, the Marlins may have to push their payroll even higher than that. Considering the Marlins already have a competent first baseman in Gaby Sanchez, signing Pujols would seem like an inefficient use of budget room.
And yet….signing Pujols would be a huge splash. That move alone would show the Miami area that the Marlins were serious about becoming contenders, and that they had left their small-market, penny pinching days behind them. The move would re-energize their fanbase like no new stadium or logo ever could, and it would provide them with a star Hispanic player to build their marketing around. Pujols would become the poster boy for the Miami area, and I have no doubt that the fans would come pouring in to see him play.
If nothing else, you have to admire the Marlins’ aggressiveness. Even if they lose out on many of these big name free agents, they have certainly turned turned themselves into major players in the free agent market in a little less than one week.
Baseball's free agency period opened earlier this week, but the hot stove is already sizzling down in South Beach. The Miami Marlins have already met or been linked with multiple players -- Mark Buehrle, Yoennis Cespedes, and Jose Reyes -- and they are giving every impression of being major players on the free agent market. Today, the rumor mill has linked the Marlins to three more big name free agents: Carlos Beltran, Prince Fielder, and Heath Bell.
Unlike the earlier rumors, though, these ones seem much less substantial. The Marlins have definitely met with Buehrle and Reyes, and they are sending a contingent to meet with Cespedes in the Dominican Republic, but these rumors merely suggest that the Marlins are "interested" in these players. Tim Brown from Yahoo! casually linked the Marlins to Beltran in his morning column, and Scott Miller from CBS Sports couched his comments about Fielder and Bell in uncertainty:
Neither Beltran or Fielder are perfect fits for the Marlins. The Marlins need a centerfielder, not a corner outfielder, and Beltran doesn't have the range to play that position anymore. They also have a glut of talent at first base in their organization, with Gaby Sanchez holding down first and Logan Morrison relegated to left field. Prince Fielder is by far a better player than either of them and the Marlins could certainly move Sanchez elsewhere if need be -- to another position or team -- but it's not a natural fit. The Marlins would likely be better off spending their money to fill positions of need.
Heath Bell is an attractive option, though, as the Marlins lack a shut down closer in the back of their bullpen. Leo Nunez closed for them in 2011, racking up 36 saves, but he also had a 4.06 ERA and 3.96 FIP. Their bullpen as a whole was one of the best in baseball in 2011 -- seventh best ERA, eighth best FIP -- so adding a top line reliever to the mix would give them a shutdown bullpen. Having that strong a bullpen would go a long way toward supporting the comparatively weak Marlins rotation.
But of course, proven closers are expensive. Ryan Madson is expected to sign for a deal roughly around 4 years, $44 million, and Heath Bell should command a similar average salary (although probably as long a contract). Exactly how much money do the Marlins have to spend, and are they willing to tie up $10 million a year in a reliever? These are questions without an answer...for now.
[Edgar] Mercedes confirmed that the Marlins are bringing in a large contingent to see Cespedes work out on Thursday and that the Yankees, Red Sox Phillies, Indians, Blue Jays, and Pirates will also be visiting in the coming weeks, with more teams expected to be added to the fray.
Edgar Mercedes, the man behind Cespedes strange yet fascinating 20 minute workout video, has been helping support Cespedes, who recently defected from Cuba and is now residing in the Dominican Republic.
Goldstein also asked Mercedes to project on Cespedes's possibly contract:
As for the money aspect, with rumors already starting that [Cespedes will] easily eclipse Aroldis Chapman's $30 million deal with Cincinnati, Mercedes is coy. "I just arrange the tryouts; Adam takes care of the negotiations."
Earlier this week, we suggested that Cespedes could not only be the Miami Marlins' best bet for center field, but that he would be a bargain even at $38M or more. It looks like the Marlins -- who are expected to increase their budget this year -- could easily make a play for Cespedes and still target the likes of Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.
Baseball, to say the least, is exciting again in south Florida.
If the Tampa Bay Rays indeed wish to acquire Florida Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison, they need to be prepared to part with pitcher James Shields, reports Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. An executive he consulted on the matter believes the Marlins would trade Morrison "for james shields but no 1 else."
In 123 games for Florida in 2011, Morrison hit .247 with 23 homers and 72 runs batted in. He didn't turn 24 until August, so he has yet to reach his peak. As MLB.com scribe Joe Frisaro notes, one scout has compared him to Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and four-time All-Star.
Parting with Shields would be a tough decision for Tampa Bay to make. The 29-year-old turned in a fine 2011 campaign, with a 2.82 earned run average in 249.1 innings, in addition to a major-league-leading 11 complete games and four shutouts. He earned his first-ever All-Star appearance for his performance.
Michael Jong, the manager of SB Nation Marlins blog FishStripes, believes a Morrison-for-Shields trade benefits both teams and could see such a deal happening by December.
After touring Mark Buehrle around South Beach yesterday, the Florida Marlins are meeting with Jose Reyes today. Reyes is one of the players the Marlins are attempting to make a big push for this offseason, and if the recent rumor is correct, they're taking an unusual approach to wooing him:
Yet Mets people on Tuesday privately downplayed the significance of the Marlins' aggressiveness. One person said he heard they plan to offer Reyes only a three-year deal at a high annual average, presumably more than $20 million a year. (New York Daily News)
"Downplaying their aggressiveness"? I think not. The standard assumption has been that Reyes will get a contract this offseason for 5-7 years for around $100 million, meaning he'd likely not top an average of $20 million/year. If the Marlins are willing to offer Reyes a higher average salary for such a short period of time, not only would Reyes become the highest paid shortstop in the game, but he'd get another chance at signing a lucrative contract.
At 28 years old, Reyes would only be 31 at the end of his hypothetical three-year deal with the Marlins. At that point, Reyes could seek a long-term deal that would pay him well into his late 30s. Considering that the free agent market inflates over time -- and that Reyes would have three peak years to prove his superstar status -- that long-term deal could meet or exceed what he's hoping to get right now.
But if Reyes decided to shoot for a 5-7 year deal right now for a lower annual salary, he would end up a free agent again around the age of 33-35. Shortstops don't always age well, and considering he's had a checkered injury history, it's difficult to say how much teams would be willing to invest in a 35-year-old Reyes. Odds are, though, he wouldn't get another long term deal, and he wouldn't make as much money as the Marlins are offering right now.
This is a savvy move by the Marlins. If Reyes accepts the deal, it gives them a star player but doesn't commit them to him over a long period of time, minimizing the risk involved in signing the injury-prone Reyes. It's also a more attractive offer than it seems at first glance, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if Reyes jumps at the chance to make huge money both now and in three years.
So to those Mets executives that tried to write off the Marlins: don't. They're being more aggressive than you think.
Not only are the Florida (soon to be Miami) Marlins meeting with Jose Reyes and flying to the Dominican to meet with Yoennis Cespedes, but they are also hot on the trail after some much-needed rotation depth. They are set to talk today with former White Sox starter Mark Buehrle:
The Marlins' No. 1 priority is upgrading their rotation. Buehrle, 32, played for new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen with the White Sox, but he is a native of St. Charles, Mo., and might prefer to stay in the Midwest, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking. (Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports)
Buehrle is no ace, but he is above average and incredibly durable. He has thrown over 200 innings in each of the last 11 seasons -- his entire career, minus a brief 50 IP stint in 2000 when he was still a prospect -- and he's posted an ERA below 4.00 in four of the past five seasons. He doesn't strike out many hitters (13% strikeout rate in 2011), but he walks only around 5% of hitters and makes batters hit the ball on the ground (45% grounder rate). He won't take Miami by storm, but he would be an ideal dependable mid-rotation starter.
Of course, it's possible that Buehrle doesn't want to actually play with the Marlins. Rumors have suggested that he'd prefer to play in the Midwest with the Cardinals, so his interest in Florida might be tepid. If the Cardinals aren't interested in Buehrle, though...well, who knows? Miami looks like quite the ideal destination for free agents. Beaches, great weather, incredible tax rates, and a re-energized, competitive team - what more could a player want?
The Florida Marlins seem intent on turning some heads this offseason. They are rebranding themselves the Miami Marlins, introducing their new name, logo, and uniform this upcoming Friday. Their new stadium is set to be one of the showiest in baseball, including a neon-tastic home run display and a fish tank behind home plate.
And as if this wasn't enough, the Marlins are apparently intent on adding major talent to their team. Yesterday they were linked to Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes, and today the most recent report suggests they are interested in shortstop Jose Reyes:
The Marlins are so enamored with All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes that they were in contact with the player at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the moment the free agent signing period could begin. A contingent of high-ranking front office executives for the Marlins were spotted at Miami International Airport on Wednesday headed for New York, where Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg, keeps his offices. (Clark Spencer, Miami Herald)
Jose Reyes is considered on of the gems of this year's free agent class, and he'll likely command around $15-20 million a year for at least 5 seasons (est. $100 million total contract). The Marlins have never made a giant splash on the free agent market, instead building their club around trades and young players, so making a run at him suggests the Marlins are taking a new strategy and trying to create a new public image.
Signing Reyes would mean that the Marlins would have to move shortstop Hanley Ramirez to another position -- likely third or second base -- but Ramirez has already stated he would be okay switching positions for a player like Reyes. And why wouldn't he? Reyes will make the Marlins a better overall team, and on top of their other rumored moves, give the Marlins a chance to seriously compete in the NL East.
Gone are the days of the small market, low payroll, stingy Florida Marlins; it's time to welcome the mid-market, $90-100 million payroll, flashy and flamboyant Miami Marlins. I can't wait to see how this offseason goes.
A new outfielder for a new park? The defected Cuban superstar may be leaning towards joining a suddenly exciting Miami Marlins team.
According to Buster Olney from ESPN, the Marlins are interested in acquiring SP James Shields and are dangling OF Logan Morrison.