Marlins primed for a big off-season?

On Friday, ESPN’s Jayson Stark posted an article on ESPN about the Florida Marlins off-season plans.

The Marlins made the ESPN.com website and there was no controversy, no mention of how much Loria is lusting for Ozzie Guillen, and no mention of a Marlins player filing a grievance against them.

It seems like Stark did something unique, he made an article and for the first time, no sports team from Miami was obliterated with hate. Of course this one line:

Hey, we know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking your wife spent more money at the mall last week than the Marlins spent on their entire roster.

Although the statement is most likely false, we at MarlinManiac hope so, it’s a funny comment on a joke that’s been practically beaten to death. Let’s take a closer look at what Stark had to say about the Marlins.

The Marlins know it. The entire baseball world knows it. And that explains why so many folks within the sport — agents, other front offices, even players — are hearing that the Fish could be chasing some big, big names this winter. And by that, we don’t just mean Ozzie Guillen.

This statement is something I have been worrying about all season. The Marlins have been talking about making a big splash this winter all season, but for the most part of the season, the only name linked to the Marlins has been Ozzie Guillen. That’s scary as hell to think about. We all know a manager makes a minimal impact over the course of a season and that would hardly attract fans to the new stadium.

Albert Pujols? Prince Fielder? Jose Reyes? Aramis Ramirez? C.J. Wilson? From all indications, they haven’t ruled anything out.

“With our payroll going up, we have a chance to put together a team at a payroll level we don’t currently have,” team president David Samson told Rumblings. “And that could involve anything — trades, free agents or a combination of both.”

If I were casting a vote on the players that the Marlins should prioritize if they are looking to add one of them, my list would go a little like this:

  1. C.J Wilson
  2. Jose Reyes
  3. Albert Pujols
  4. Prince Fielder
  5. Aramis Ramirez

I know what you guys are thinking, is this guy crazy for wanting Wilson and Reyes over Pujols and Fielder, the two clear top players of free agency. I don’t think so. As I stated in another article, the Marlins should make a run at trying to sign ace C.J. Wilson. Marlins should be prioritizing pitching over hitting. That’s what the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves have done and look at where they are now. This is what Stark had on the Marlins adding someone like Wilson:

And there are rumblings that this team will be firing on all cylinders, trying to reel in a top-of-the-rotation starter to pair with Johnson — because, as the Marlins look around at the rotation the Phillies roll out there and the staffs the Braves and Nationals are building, that’s the only way to do business in the NL East.

Even though Reyes has been injury prone the past few seasons, I have him second on my list because he bring a speed, defense, and more speed to the Marlins. The Marlins already seem content with Emilio Bonifacio leading off next season, so why not add even more speed and make a speedy pair like the Marlins had in 2003. This is Stark’s comments on Reyes and how he’d work with the Marlins:

It’s hard to comprehend the concept of the Marlins being the highest bidder on someone like Reyes. But their current shortstop, the artist formerly known as Hanley, has already said publicly he would move to third base to make room if that happens.

If Hanley has already said he’s willing to switch position to accomodate someone, then the Marlins should act on that. They would be a better team with Hanley out of shortstop. This move or the addition of Aramis Ramirez would of course displace Matt Dominguez and give the Marlins trade bait to improve other areas.

Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols are both players that would definitely change the dynamic of Florida Marlins baseball and change the way that MLB fans view the Marlins. Either one would be amazing to add to a quartet with Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton, and Logan Morrison. I would prefer Pujols over Fielder because Fielder’s poor defense. This move would displace Gaby Sanchez, and like in the case of Dominguez, give the Marlins another trade chip. Sanchez is obviously the more established guy and he’d attract a lot of attention.

I’ll leave you with Stark’s last words:

So it will be fascinating to see where this leads. But as easy as it is to be skeptical, remember this: They only get to open their new park once. They only get one chance to attract people to check out the scenery as the new tourist attraction it is. After that, they’ll need to give those people a reason to keep coming back.

And you know, we know and they know that a roof and an air conditioner won’t be a good enough reason. So gentlemen, start your checkbooks. The only thing riding on it in beautiful downtown Miami this offseason is, well, everything.

 

Let’s Go Miami Marlins! Give us something to cheer about in 2012!

 

Side question:What would be a better big 3, Wade-Lebron-Bosh or Ramirez-Pujols-Stanton?

 

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Tags: Albert Pujols Aramis Ramirez C.J. Wilson Chris Bosh Dwyane Wade Emilio Bonifacio Gaby Sanchez Hanley Ramirez Jayson Stark Jose Reyes Josh Johnson LeBron James Logan Morrison Matt Dominguez Miami Marlins Mike Stanton Ozzie Guillen Prince Fielder

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