Blog Entry

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: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:43 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

While the Phillies havent made much of a splash this offseason. Florida is going after it. I though Washington would be more into this but staying low for now. White Sox trade Santos for a young starter in minors could be a good move for both the Sox and Blue Jays Anthony Carter will challenge Thornton for the closers Job. Santos gives the Jays a good closer . back to NL east the Reds are looking at Jair Jurrjens from Atlanta this could hapen and I see the Braves getting Billy Hamilton great young ss 100 stolen bases last year!!!!!!! Phillies lose out on Reyes mabe Hamilton that leaves Jean Segura Angels

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:36 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Reyes and Ramirez can both be knuckleheads at times, but you can't deny the talent. 2 of the last 3 batting champs, and 3 of the last 9 if they get Pujols.

Since: Aug 4, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:10 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

You are absolutely right, Tiger.  Even if the Marlins draw big in the first year, it's hard to see sustained support in an area that has never drawn well for baseball.  Albert would be wiser to insist on a "must trade" clause that he could invoke when the worst owner (this side of Donald Sterling) in professional sports starts his fire sale when it becomes clear that the revenues will never match the expense side for this franchise.  The best thing will be that the guy who destroyed a once model franchise in Montreal will have to eat significant portions of the new contracts when he trades guys like Pujols and Reyes (assuming he isn't collecting insurance as a result of Reyes being physically unable to play).

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:31 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

I really wonder if the Marlins will ever draw 2 million fans? Seems there's a habit down that way of not supporting baseball, so we'll see. I still hope Albert Pujols doesn't walk from St. Louis. Unlike LeBron, who never won a championship, Albert can't say the Cardinals haven't fielded a good team around him. But then most of you would tell him to chase the cash and it's all about the big coin. Well, I just hope not. I'd like to think one player has the sense to realize his name will be immortal long after his playing days are a fading memory in the mind's of old men.

Since: Jul 26, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:00 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Just like the Miami Heat won the title last year.....oops

Just like the Eagles were going to win the super bowl this year....oops  

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:22 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Nole, you said the Phillies haven't had much success in the postseason in recent years- I think making it to the World Series twice and winning it once since 2007 is having some success.  Don't get me wrong, nothing but championships are important, however, you can't ignore that the Phillies have done well in the postseason.  There is a lot of talent in the MLB and to be consistently down to the top 2, top 4, or top 8 out of 30 teams is a success to me.  You are missing my point completely- you stated the haven't had any success in recent years, I beg to differ.  If your argument was they have only won 1 World Series and that they shouldn't be content with consistency in the regular season without getting a ring in October that's fine, but that isn't what you said. 

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:56 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

The ongoing ridiculous blabbering about payroll and how it should translate to post-season success is really beyond being amusing. The other teams that the Phils play ALSO have a payroll and being IN THE PLAYOFFS usually means THAT team spent SOME money to get some TALENT.

After that, it's -- can you win three out of five? Sometimes even the 1927 Yankees lost three out of five.

Maybe if you want to continue this 'payroll ought to equal something' discussion, decide what is or isn't "success."

I think the Pirates and the Royals would be pretty good examples of failure.
Being IN THE PLAYOFFS is what a big payroll is designed to do for most teams.

Winning the World Series is hardly a measure of payroll. It's a measure of winning 11 games AFTER you qualified.

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:39 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

noles, yes, i am a Phillies fan, but I hope to god that you don't follow baseball.  The Phillies do only have one world series in the past 4 years, however, there are 30 teams in MLB teams and the other three have been one by seperate clubs- so I'd say that is a pertty big accomplishment aside from the regular season in the past "couple years."  Also, here is the Phillies recent "not so good post season history"

2007- lost in the NLDS
2008- Won the World Series
2009- Lost in the World Series
2010- Lost in the NLCS
2011- Lost in the NLDS

I'd love to hear your explanation on how the Phillies haven't done anything in the postseason- I'd say two trips to the WS (with one win), 2 trips to the NLDS, and one lost in the 1st round isn't having success.

I haven't looked at your profile to see who you are a fan of, but I hope you don't follow a team because to say the Phillies haven't been successful in the postseason is absurd.  I beg of you to name a team that is consistently successful as the Phillies are.

Exactly, they have won one world series. Which no one can take away from them. Losing in the NLDS, or NLCS is not an accomplishment, sorry. Especially when you have a 172 million dollar payroll. So the goal for the Phillies isn't to be number 1? There goal is to finish first in the regular season, then flop in the playoffs? You take me speaking on facts as me hating on your team. Your taking it far too personal here. The Yankees generally make the playoffs each year, The Cardinals do the same, The Rangers, Red Sox usually, The goal is to win. Not lose.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:24 pm

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Remeber last year when a self proclaimed King created his court on T.V. that didn't buy a championship. You have to invest in people who want to mentor and build a team. A few names only last as long as their contracts these days! Yeah the Cubs have sucked for 103 YEARS! so what I still love them and your all entitled to your own pipe dream! We just bought a front office dream team, but I live in reality and I don't see October in Chicago. So again Really December, a new stadium, Bell, and Reyes and some potentials and you see October? Stop letting these guys think you really like what they write and just love your teams and sports! make them write real stories.
The Heat are not exactly a great example. The Heat did get to the NBA championship, so I would be very happy if the Marlins got as far as the Heat. As far as my expectations is that with the additions, they will compete for a playoff spot. I am not surprised that Ball thinks they can compete with the Phillies. I would hope that all Marlins players feel that they can beat the Phillies. I would be very disappointed if their goal wasn't - to win the World Series.

For those that talk about team chemistry. Back in 1997 the Heat brought in a lot of free agents and won a championship. That team had a lot big egos and at best had ok team chemistry, but they were definitely talented. Back when Billy Martin was the Yankees manager, that team definitely did not have the best team chemistry, but they won championships. Team chemistry in baseball is a lot less important than other sports.

Maybe you should share your story ideas with the writers. I thought the Marlins signing Reyes and Bell and trying to sign Pujols was a big story.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:54 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

they will do the same thing they do every year, compete until june and then drop back behind the nats. people act like they are adding pujols, its jose reyes people, if he was so great how come the mets sucked year after year. you can pencil him in for having a great first month or two of the year and then hurt with some leg issue and only play 100 games.  maybe they finish above the nats this year.
Obviously that could not have happened every year or the Marlins would not have won two World Series Championships. The fact that Pujols has not already re-signed with the Cardinals means there is a chance he signs with the Marlins. Most likely he will be back with the Cardinals, but who knows. As far as Reyes, it is crazy to blame the Mets problems on him. He led the NL batting average with .337 average. As I stated in a different post, two of the biggest needs for the Marlins were leadoff hitter and closer. The Marlins filled those needs very well. So I would not be surprised if the Marlins finished ahead of your Braves. I will feel even better about their chances if they pick up a quality starting pitcher.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or