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: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:31 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.

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:27 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

While I agree that Bell is full of it, at least at this point, I do find it amusing that there are a lot of Philly, Yankee, Red Sox, etc. fans pointing out that "$$ doesn't buy championships". Aren't you guys the poster boys for that point?

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:26 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Looks like crooked activities in stadium for years, then is a $650M one....then it's unload on free agents after developing and then dumping your talent.  Loria is a crook and I hope all of this comes back and bites him in the ass - Heat and Marlins - the best money can buy...and maybe not.  Albert - stay in STL.  Ask Arod how his career has gone since leaving Seattle.  Ask Griffey how his went after he left the Mariners  - stay with one team your whole career and win some more Series.

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:23 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Burger Bun and Rebel41, you're apparently fellow Cards fans, so I won't call you out. Still, you've both got to be crazy to post these suggestions regarding Pujols. Cards should let him go and "upgrade" with Rollins and Beuhrle?! Rollins is a dick that most Phillie fans are happy to get rid of, gets hurt all the time, is too old to do anything, only plays well in a contract year, and wants a LOT more than he's worth. Yeah, that would be a MUCH better signing than Pujols?! I like Mark Beurle, but he's aging as well. I'd like to have him, but not for a lot of $$$. Pujols on the other hand, is an icon, and legend already. He's already made more $$ for the Cards than they could EVER pay him. He's going to do amazing things (getting to record after record) over the next 10 years, even as he slows with age. I'm an old man and have NEVER seen the likes of Albert. I've been in the stands for Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Ozzie Smith. This guy needs to always be a Cardinal. I find it sad how little perspective some people have.

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:23 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

So by getting Heath Bell and Jose Reyes, the Marlins are gonna win the East??



Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:16 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Here we go again, with the corrination of the New Dec...before the snow has even a chance to fall.  Only this time its the Marlins holding up the World Series Trophy with AP and JR as co-MVP's.  Last time I checked, both the Phillies and the Eagles had to sheepishly hand back the Paper Champ Trophy to the teams who lace them up.  Give me a break.  I dont care if Flordia sign AP or whoever... when push comes to shove nobody will give a rats ass about south Flordia once the season starts.  Its Boston and NY and fly over country. 
St Louis should be happly Albert gives them a chance to build a future.  Fast forward (Texas fans) a few years and you will see Flordia begging anyone to take these contracts.  Fools gold - Do yourself a favor and buy insurance on both Reyes and Albert - your going to need it.  I thought it was clear that chemistry was important and that you can assemble anything on paper but check your clubhouse in Sept.   Last year STL, Year before - San Fran.  Go Marlins I mean Yankees, I mean Marlins, I mean Red Sox, I mean Marlins.   

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:06 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

I realize the new stadium downtown has brought more interest in the team, but the Marlins will be lucky to keep filling those seats after a season or two.  This is Miami.  Then they have to pay these guys.  Big risk. 
The deal the Marlins had at Sun Life/Land Shark/Pro Player/Joe Robbie Stadium was terrible. I am not sure that they got any of the money from parking, concessions or suites. They now have an incredible deal with the city. The deal is so good for the Marlins that the deal is being investigated. So the Marlins have a lot more money to spend even without an increase in attendance. From what we have heard down here, the suite sales have been good and season ticket sales are way up. If they can keep a team together, they may be able to hold on to the fans.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:52 am

This is Miami

I realize the new stadium downtown has brought more interest in the team, but the Marlins will be lucky to keep filling those seats after a season or two.  This is Miami.  Then they have to pay these guys.  Big risk.  

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:47 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

First off def agree with Gator here, the Marlins are doing the smart thing by getting the best closer on the market and arguably a top 3 closer in the league and with Reyes when healthy the best leadoff hitter in the league.... if they get Pujols watch out their pitching should be solid and if they get another starter could be heavy favorites.... it would be a crazy offseason if they were the ones to get say the best SP as well as the best closer and best 2 lead off hitter on the market and arguably the best hitter on the market.... scary thought. (mainly for any other fan who isn't a Marlins fan)

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:10 am

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Aw Phillie, didn't a certain back up QB claim the Eagles to be a 'Dream Team'
that is now a nightmare? The Marlins are just grabbing big name, high priced
talent like shoppers on black Friday?
Prediction, the Marlins, with Ozzie in the driver's seat could be a disaster.
First of all, this comment sounds funny coming from a Yankee fan. Second there is a big difference between football and baseball. In football, team chemistry is a lot more important. Marlins needed a closer and lead-off hitter and they went out and got the best available at each spot. I almost think the Marlins would be better going after a starting pitcher, but Pujols would draw more fans.

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