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.