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
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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 CBSSports.com 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.

Now?

"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."



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Comments

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:07 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Lindro99, I agree with what you are saying and as a Phillies fan I agree that the window is closing.  Our infield is aging by the day, as is our all star pitching rotation (though Halladay and Lee continue to push their inning counts).  I was simply responding to the claim that the Phillies haven't "had any recent success in the postseason" which is a ridiculous claim.  There are 20-some-odd teams out there that wish they had the chance to extend their season as much as the Phillies have recently.  I completely am with you that 2nd place is the first loser but to say the Phills haven't done much is just incorrect.  The Phills need the bats to come around next year- injuries throughout the year hurt consistency and they still won 100 games.  Let's see what the Phills can do in the offseason before we start making claims about how the Marlins can beat them.  I think Papelbon was a great start, but now we have to go after some bats.  Let Rollins walk and pickup a nice, consistent shortstop. 

In the end, I was in no way, shape, or form saying that I am content with the NLDS, NLCS, or WS runner-up, but the Phillies have had some success dating back to 2007 and to say otherwise is being ignorant.

Any to the Eagles "Dream Team" bashers- have a real conversation with a Philly sports fan about how they felt when Vince Young made those comments- our biggest concern is LB's, not paying (3) guys in our secondary 10x the amount we are paying the linebacking core.  And certainly we weren't happy with the selection of our new D coordinator either... Vince Young made a statement in the media which no one agreed with.  We now have Nmandi, a guy who has always matched up against the #1 opposing receiver, playing only one side.  We have a contract dispute with one of our best receivers (and to all you haters, Philly fans think that Maclin is the more producing of the 2 receivers, look at the numbers), we have a rookie field goal kicker (let go of one of the best in the game) and we are running the top running back in the league at least 30% less than we should.  VY called this team the "dream team", not Philly fans.  As someone who's had season tickets in the fam since I was 6, hop off the "oh Philly fans thought they had the dream team" because we didn't. 



Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:51 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

I agree REBEL 41. We should know something this week since the Marlin's are giving handouts to eveyone. I still believe Albert is 34-35 and don't want to see a contract more than 6 years!



Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:16 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

IF PUJOLS DOESNT WANT TO SIGN I WISH WE WOULD UPGRADE WITH BUEHRLE - ROLLINS.......STL WOULD HAVE THE MONEY TO DO THIS. CRAIG AND BERKMAN ARE FINE...GET IT DONE OR LET HIM GO



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:59 am
 

Ah, Phillie

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. 



Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:58 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

lol not trying to be rude or anything but do you watch baseball the nlds is the first round not second so that is two first round exits and one trip to second round



Since: Nov 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:56 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Phillies have had a window to win multiple world series, but have just the one. Im just being honest when I say no one cares who loses in the nlcs or nlds. I admire the phillies, they have been the best team in the NL but it really does only come down to world series titles.



Since: Nov 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:50 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

If this team starts slow or has a slow half, that place will be half empty most of the summer. Adding Reyes is great, but unless JJ stays healthy, and the rest of the staff pitches up to there ability, the marlins arent more then an 80 win team. Now if they add Pujols, that would put them in a different stratosphere. I just can't imagine Pujols leaving the Cardinals, but who knows.



Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:50 am
 

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.



Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:11 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Just because you spend a ton of cash & buy players it doesn't mean that you get titles.  Chemistry is everything.. See the 2010 Heat & the 2011 Eagles.  Also look at the 2011 StL Cardinals.. oozing with chemistry... So go ahead Miami Marlins.. I wanna see you win the NL East.. I despise all the teams out there.. but it doesn't mean a thing.



Since: Jul 8, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:12 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

I bet Fredi Gonzalez is thinking "WTF?"

Team didn't spend any money for him and now Illiterate Ozzie comes rolling into town and they sign Bell, Reyes and maybe Pujols/Buehrle


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