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New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Posted on: December 5, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 12:39 am
DALLAS -- Heath Bell, done. Jose Reyes, done.

Now owner Jeffrey Loria says the Marlins can add more, and you'd better believe it. The Marlins met twice with the agent for Albert Pujols on Monday, sources said late Monday night, boosting its nine-year offer in the process and giving the slugger even more to think about.

No decision was imminent as midnight approached, and one person with knowledge of the talks said they likely will play out more before a decision is reached. The Cardinals also met with Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and so did the Cubs.

But it is the Marlins who have stolen the show early in these winter meetings, and it is their efforts for Pujols that have electrified the lobby here at the Hilton Anatole.

Pujols in the same lineup with Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and others?

"That would be great," Bell told Monday. "I'm telling you right now, we definitely can win the NL East, even with just Reyes."

Imagine that. Even with just Reyes.

As in, gee, even if we don't sign Pujols, we've got an embarrassment of riches.

"I think we can win the division right now," Bell continued. "The Phillies, I think we can beat 'em.

"Ryan Howard is hurt. They might not be getting Jimmy Rollins back."

It is a tilting landscape and a bizarro world. As Rollins continued to frost out on the free agent market Thursday, sources said the Phillies were discussing free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Then they'd trade Placido Polanco, and maybe get a shortstop elsewhere

Whatever on the Phillies front. The Marlins are charging hard toward their new stadium and toward the top of the NL East.

Owner Jeffrey Loria would not speak directly about Pujols on Monday, but not because that's some crazy rumor.

"I don't want to talk about Albert," Loria said. "That's not the purpose of today. This is Heath's day."

Tuesday or, more likely, Wednesday will be Reyes' day, the day the Marlins introduce him formally here at the winter meetings.

Meantime, they're working hard toward another addition. The Pujols talks are serious. So are those for a starting pitcher. One person close to the Marlins suggested Monday night that free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle actually is above Pujols on the club's wish list. Loria has told people that the club's payroll, roughly $45 million last year, could zoom to the $100 million range in 2012.

When this winter started, that seemed like a bad joke.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, thinks the Marlins aren't serious now.

"I'm a serious guy," Loria said. "I don't know how many times I have to tell you guys that."

You cannot even begin to describe how different life is for the Marlins, whose executives arrived here about midday Monday. These are the guys -- Loria, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, general manager Michael Hill -- who sold their wares on the streets of the winter meetings in years past because they were so poor.

These are the guys who traded Miguel Cabrera to Detroit, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. ...

"We had a plan a few years ago," Loria said. "That's the reason why Mike Stanton is here, the reason why Logan Morrison is here, the reason why Hanley Ramirez is here."

As Beinfest says, the Marlins plan always was to compete, they just had to find extra creative ways to do so.


"It's fun," Beinfest kept saying Monday. "It's fun to come in here and sign an All-Star closer. There's nothing wrong with that."

In a perfect Marlins world, they'd leave Dallas on Thursday with Bell, Reyes and Pujols or Buehrle all done. But as quickly as they're moving, there's still some uncertainty.

"We'd love to get things done as fast as possible and achieve our goals," Beinfest said. "But we don't control everything. It takes two to tango."

Sure does. But the Marlins have entered the free agent market with swagger and are causing some folks to dance as fast as they can. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt said earlier Monday that he remains "hopeful" of signing Pujols.

"We're making every effort" to sign him, DeWitt said.

Well if they're serious, the Cardinals had better get moving. Because the Marlins are as serious as a spring breaker hell-bent on ravaging the Fort Lauderdale nightlife.

"We want to do more," Beinfest said. "We'd like to do more. There are some things we'd like to achieve.

"We're still in conversation with free agents and with clubs."

Every door is open, including trades -- with players both going and coming. Loria mostly remained tight-lipped regarding diva superstar Hanley Ramirez, who now must shove over to third base to make room for Reyes.

"Hanley is a super-professional," Loria said. "That's all I will say. We will work with him, make everything comfortable for him."

You bet they will. They're making everything comfortable for Bell, Reyes and others as they go. Loria anticipates attendance bumping up to somewhere between 2.8 and 3 million in 2012. They drew an NL-low 1.5 million last year.

They win like Bell says they can, maybe there really, finally, will be a buzz around the Marlins.

Said Beinfest: "It's time for this organization to play October baseball."


Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 9:13 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

The thing is, Miami always had money, they just chose not to spend it. Maybe not this much money but they are certainly not the poorest team in the MLB. If I'm not mistaken, Selig basically told Loria that he had to start spending some money when the new stadium was built because he has taken so much in revenue sharing over the years. I find the amount that they are spending surprising but not the fact they are signing people now.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2011 9:07 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Unlike the players this Miami team is buying, talk is cheap. Heath Bell is funny, not only how he runs onto the field and slides his overweight butt onto the mound but with his comedic stand-up he entertained reporters with. Are the fish better....yes. Are they better than the signed a closer from a last place team and a shortstop from a 2nd to last place team. Reyes helped the Mets finish 25 back of the Phillies(who had an off year) and Bell helped the monks to 71 wins, 29 games behind the Phillies(did I mention they had an off year--you know injuries forcing them to play only a couple dozen games with their actual line-up)....oh they still won 102 games, don't credit them too much for that, thank god for teams like the Mets, Marlins, and Padres, who combined to lose to the Phillies 30 times. Heath Bel, seriously, you have an career era over 3.00, your a novelty at best, however I guess that is a good thing opening a new stadium and begging fans to come watch your team play. I know buying championships has worked in the past for the fish but I can't see it happening again, I do see them finishing better than 30 games out. Lastly, Amaro is a genius, he signed the best closer availble rather than Heath bar, he wanted nothing to do with Reyes because he knows Jose is a loser despite his gawdy contract year stats. Forget Pujols, invest the money in Johnson and Johnson band aids , to help Josh Johnson actually reach 10 starts this year......championships are won on grass not paper- just ask the 2008 Mets.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:47 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

sources said the Phillies were seriously discussing free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Then they'd trade Placido Polanco . . .
How can the Phillies trade Polanco?  He had a bad year, he's coming off injuries, he's 36, and he makes a lot of money.  Nobody will know until at least spring training what he'll be capable of following his injuries.  No club will take a chance on a player like that--at least not without the Phillies eating practically his entire salary, and I don't think they're looking to do that.  And even if some club is willing to take him at the major-league minimum or whatever, they're not going to give the Phillies much in trade.  Why would they?

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:41 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Hanley a super professional, lol ask his teammates , ask his last 2 managers, he is a dog, reyes is all about ME, im a met fan and im kind of happy to see him go but the mets GM should of traded him , Donkeybutt, good luck , plus that horrible manager in guillen, the white sox were stacked and they didnt play hard for him, and heath bar bell , go eat another donught!!!

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:18 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Another yammering report that again reminds us that pennants are not won in December.

Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:15 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

I'm guessing the signing of Heath Bell means that um "Juan Oviedo"? isn't coming back

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:09 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Sounds to me like somebody is counting their money while they are still sitting at the table.........Heath bell and Jose Reyes are nice additions for the Marlins but let's not get silly here Mr. Bell. There is a certain professional football team from no other than Philadelphia who proclaimed themselves the next Super Bowl winner before the season started after snacthing up all the "good" talent available and we all see how that prediction worked out......just sayin. Big names and gobs of money don't gaurantee anything in team sports.

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2011 5:51 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

I think Bell is right about one thing.. yeah you can beat the Phillies. Yeah and maybe even take 2 outta 3 in a series. But Florida cant really compete over a 162 Game season with Philadelphia. They could compete for a wildcard but they cant keep Josh Johnson healthy.. Nice try. I suppose its the thing he has to say to create excitement for the team. But its not happening in reality...

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