Don’t look now, but the Miami Marlins could be making a splash this off-season? Jose Reyes joined team owner, Jeffrey Loria and Ozzie Gullien for lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab Wednesday afternoon, to talk baseball.
Reyes with not the first premiere ball player the Fish have dined with. Just days before giving Reyes a tour of the new stadium, Florida’s management met with Mark Buehrle. Loria and club officials also attended 26-year-old Cuban prospect, Yoennis Cespedes’, private workout session.
The team’s a long shot for Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols is going back to St. Louis, but the Marlins are willing to increase their payroll from $57 to $80 million, which makes these other three guys pretty feasible.
Reyes is injury prone, but batted .337 in over 100 games last year. The shortstop can still play and unless Hanley Ramirez is willing to give up his turf, Reyes will most likely be moved to second base. The move will be easier on his hamstrings and may get the 28-year-old his first 135-plus game season since 2008. Sitting ahead of HanRam, Michael Stanton and Gaby Sanchez, Reyes’ run production would sky-rocket because all he’d have to do is get on base.
Buehrle has spent his entire career in Chicago and it’s about time he had a change of scenery. Why not take his talents to South Beach?
Adding a powerful lefty to Josh Johnson’s pitching staff will not only take some slack off him but also Anibel Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco and Sanchez have both shown signs of glimmer in their careers and the addition of Buehrle will give them the best shot to reach their potential. Chris Volstad would finish out the Marlins’ rotation which isn’t as good as Philadelphia’s, but would still be something to keep in the back of your mind.
The addition of Cespedes will bring speed, power and consistency to Guillen’s lineup. The centerfielder batted .333 with 33 home runs and just under 100 RBIs in Cuba last year. He defected from Cuba earlier this year and hired Adam Katz hoping to land on a major league club by May.
So maybe they aren’t as big as Lebron James, Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh, but Reyes and Cespdes will solidify the Miami’s young, but dangerous lineup and Buehrle will bring experience and 10-plus wins to a rotation that has failed to stay healthy the past three years.
The Marlins struggled last year, but the team is opening a new stadium and with these additions could become an instant contender.
Talking and producing is still the team’s biggest problem, the Marlins haven’t signed a top-free agent in years. But if Loria can pull off these three transactions; the addition of the Marlins’ “Big Three” would make them a very dangerous ballclub next season.