The Miami Marlins Will Sign Everyone

What’s gotten into the Marlins? First, a new name. Next, a new ballpark and uniforms. Now, the desire to spend money on free-agents. For the first time since their inception, it appears the Marlins are willing to spend money to win. This strategy is a stark departure from their “trade anyone who is due for a raise” approach throughout their history. While that approach has worked out for the Marlins in the past — they did win two World Series — it’s definitely interesting to hear them being linked to every free-agent on the market.

Since the free-agency period began, the Marlins have already met with Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. Over the past couple days; they’ve been linked to Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Zambrano. The Marlins obviously cannot sign all of those players, but it’s fun to finally see them involved in free-agency. If the Marlins are finally going to open up the checkbook, which free-agents should be the priority?

Since the Marlins have already met with Buehrle and Reyes, they seem like a good place to start. Going after Buehrle makes sense for a couple of reasons. He’s incredibly durable and one of the most reliable starters in baseball. His addition helps shore up a rotation of Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and a bunch of young guys. Buehrle could also be a great mentor for the young pitchers on the Marlins staff, as he played a major role in John Danks development while in Chicago. The move also reunites Buehrle with Ozzie Guillen, his manager the last eight seasons.

Courting Reyes is slightly more confusing. The Marlins already have a pretty solid shortstop in Hanley Ramirez. While Ramirez is far from a great fielder at the position, the Marlins have given no indication that they will move him any time soon. Unless he or Reyes is willing to move to second base or centerfield, Reyes doesn’t look like a great fit in Miami.

Fielder and Pujols make sense in that they’re the best players on the market and this team is looking to make a splash. The Marlins already have Gaby Sanchez at first — and Logan Morrison is also more than capable of playing there — but neither of those players should pose a threat to Pujols or Fielder. It remains to be seen how serious the Marlins are about going after Pujols or Fielder, but either guy would be a huge signing for this team.

For the first time in their history, the Marlins are being viewed as big spenders during free-agency. Because we have no examples of the Marlins going after big names in the past, it remains to be seen whether players will actually take the Marlins seriously. Based on the Marlins positional needs, signing Buehrle makes sense. Going after Reyes may put fans in the seats, but it’s unclear where he fits in on this team. Pujols or Fielder would satisfy both areas, as they fill the Marlins’ positional needs and would put fans in the seats.

Of course, just because the Marlins are going after these players don’t mean they will actually sign any of them. Still, courting the major free-agents is the first step in convincing both the fans — and the players — that this team is finally going to spend money.




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Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.


37 Responses to “The Miami Marlins Will Sign Everyone”

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  1. MC says:

    Yes the Marlins seem kind of like a kid walking into his first candy store or I guess a man walking into his first strip club or something.

    But that said I don’t think their club is ready or at the point where signing, even let’s say 3 free agents is going to put them over the top.

    They have 1 good pitcher-albeit he’s excellent, Josh Johnson. The rest of the rotation is suspect. Same with the lineup-arguably Mike Stanton is their only great hitter.

    And also like you say in the original post, moving Hanley is going to destroy so much of his value, as good hitting third basemen are so much more common than good hitting shortstops. It makes no sense to me why they would sign Reyes, other than that they have money to burn. I mean yes Hanley’s UZR ain’t the greatest but neither is Jose’s.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      We still don’t have any evidence that the Marlins are sincere, do we? A lot of folks suspect all these meetings are just a show to energize their fans. Until they actually significantly increase payroll, I’m going to assume this is the same old Jeff Loria.

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    • Jackson says:

      Agreed. They may have a new stadium and a new manager but they’re still a small market team and will still be the lowly Marlins in 2012

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    • Great Hitters says:

      Stanton their only great hitter? What about Hanley?

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      • MC says:

        Yes I forgot about Hanley because he was inured last year and didn’t show up on the roster I was looking at.

        Whatever even assuming that they’re sincere about this FA thing not sure it’s the right approach for a team w/ a negative run differential last year.

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  2. Peter says:

    I’ve heard that Hanley has said that he would move to 3B for Reyes.

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  3. Tito Landrum says:

    Just wanted to mention that I’m pretty sure the 1997 champion Marlins were very much a free agent acquisition team. They had the huge “fire sale” right after winning the WS which led to the 2003 team.

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    • JayT says:

      This is the exact same thing about the 1997 Marlins I thought when I read this article, so I took a look at baseball-reference, and the Marlins signed:
      Bobby Bonilla
      Moises Alou
      Devon White
      Jim Eisenreich
      Kevin Brown
      Alex Fernandez
      Al Leiter
      Liván Hernández

      And every one of those guys was signed in either ’96 or ’97. That’s about half of the starting lineup, and four fifths of the starting rotation. And it’s not like these guys were no-name free agents that hit it big, most of these guys were mid to high level free agents.

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    • Husker says:

      And a huge “fire sale” after that that has led to years of futility.

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  4. Mike Newman says:

    smoke…….and…….mirrors. Court everybody, sign nobody and play victim to the fan base as you open the new stadium.

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    • Paul says:

      Ah, you beat me to it!

      Jeffrey Loria is an art dealer. Think people who get wealthy doing that are not the absolute greatest salesmen ever? They are like used car dealers on steroids.

      A lot of people who take this seriously are going to have their villain in the end, and as Mike said it will be everybody outside of Miami. If on the other hand, you are in sales or high stakes business and enjoy the art of the game, watch a master at work. Smoke and mirrors does not begin to cover it.

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    • Robbie G. says:

      Which is why it’s so disappointing to see sportswriters presenting this “story.”

      If I were to make a general announcement that I had discovered life on other planets, I would receive zero press coverage. So why are the Marlins receiving press coverage for making such an obviously disingenuous announcement? This is a double standard! I cry foul!

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      • baycommuter says:

        If there were only 30 astronomical labs in the U.S., and one of them announced it had discovered life on another planet, I guarantee it would get coverage.

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      • Robbie G. says:

        That’s assuming all 30 astronomical labs were competently managed and were all actually putting forth a legitimate effort to discover life on planets.

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  5. Los says:

    And they also tried to spend some with Carlos Delgado in 2005. After the team (and fans) disappointed he was traded and then they continued with the trade everyone philosophy but there were two instances where they were buyers.

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  6. Shawn says:

    I actually think that the Marlins will sign a free agent or two, with the primary focus being on a Latin American star. If they can sign Reyes as a big FA coup, and then sign Cespedes to show they are willing to take a risk that may be required to win big, they really will impact the fan base for more than just this year. Now, I know that Cespedes could be a bust, but at the very least they are injecting life in a very stagnant area of the baseball world.

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  7. JohnOrpheus says:

    I think they’ll have to do a lot better than Buehrle if they plan on having anything close to a playoff contender rotation. That rotation, as constructed, isn’t taking them anywhere. I don’t care if they sign Pujols, Reyes, and “The Showcase.”

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    • Dan Greer says:

      If they bring back Vazquez and sign Buehrle, the rotation looks like this:

      Josh Johnson
      Mark Buehrle
      Javier Vazquez
      Anibal Sanchez
      Ricky Nolasco
      Chris Volstad

      I don’t know about you, but that looks better than average to me. It isn’t quite the Phillies’ or Braves’ rotations, but it wouldn’t be a weakness. It’s also possible they end up trading for Carlos Zambrano, who might thrive under Ozzie (or if not, at least be very entertaining!)

      And if they did somehow sign Pujols, Buehrle, and Reyes, I’d really have to call them playoff contenders.

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      • Paul says:

        I can’t tell if you’re playing along, but if so this is good stuff.

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      • JohnOrpheus says:

        My point would be that none of their three young pitchers are anything close to a sure thing. Johnson will be among the best in the league if healthy, but who knows if he will throw 200 innings or 20 innings with his shoulder. Both Sanchez and Nolasco are enigmas. Will they be mid-to-front of the rotation guys or back of the rotation frustrations?

        I’d throw my money at Wilson and try to get Cespedes if I were them. Maybe even Wilson and Buerhle.

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      • MC says:

        I would expect teams to show a lot of interest for Vazquez…at least I would, so I don’t expect him to be back with the Marlins.

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  8. Mike Newman says:

    The only signing which really makes sense to me is Cespedes. CF is a hole and filling it with a Cuban born player caters to the Miami fan base who will have to fill the seats vacated by Broward and Palm Beach fans who are likely to stay away now that the team is so far south.

    Unfortunately, I suspect this stadium is going to be even a bigger disaster than the Miami Arena was. I’ll be happy to eat my words if I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it.

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    • Paul says:

      Yeah, I can see them signing as many of the Cubans as possible. They will be right there in Little Havana after all. And sign Livan as consolation for missing by a mile on Buerhle. And hook his bro up to the juvenation machine.

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  9. mister_rob says:

    1997 WS Champion Marlins

    obtained via free agency – kevin brown, al leiter, alex fernandez (3/5ths of their rotation). moises alou, bobby bonilla, and devon white

    and traded for a big money player in gary sheffield

    I’d say theyve been to the candy store (orstrip club) before

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  10. Devon says:

    “For the first time since their inception, it appears the Marlins are willing to spend money to win. ” …that sentence just made me feel really old, ’cause apparently you haven’t even heard about ’97.

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  11. west says:

    Mark Buehrle would not like Miami. He drives the biggest truck I’ve ever seen and loves hunting. I think he tolerates Chicago because its a close drive to places where he can hunt. He’ll stay in Chicago or go to STL.

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  12. Carlos Zambrano says:

    “I’m taking my wasted talents to south beach”

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  13. WhatLeylandNoooo says:

    In this article, you mention “For the first time in their history, the Marlins are being viewed as big spenders during free-agency. Because we have no examples of the Marlins going after big names in the past, it remains to be seen whether players will actually take the Marlins seriously,” yet Wayne Huizenga and the 1997 Marlins were infamous for “buying” their championship. I mean, what are we to believe, that this and the subsequent fire sale in 1998 were simply not pivotal components to the discussion of the long-term feasibility of baseball economics at the time or that they simply did not happen. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

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    • Mike Newman says:

      Being in college in Miami at that time, Huizenga was VERY clear that he would build it, but the Marlins needed to draw. He held up his end of the bargain, but people didn’t come. It was amazing how that place filled up for playoff games like it was a local event similar to a South Beach club opening. However, I also went to games and sat with a buddy where we were the ONLY two people in the entire section! You could literally carry on conversations with players on the other team and not even have to scream. It was downright pathetic.

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  14. Free Hanram says:

    Marlins need to free up some salary to sign Pujols and Reyes. This time the fire sale happens before the acquisitions. I think Nolasco goes first.

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  15. Adam says:

    No matter who they sign, they will look absolutely ridiculous in those new uniforms. They are impossibly ugly, which works perfectly with the idea of a pro baseball team in Miami.

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