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.