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 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."



Comments

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:10 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Yea, 98 if you throw in the 36 he logged for 2008. Otherwise it is 126 last season and 132 in 2009. Another way to spin this is that he's gone for a min of 126 games every season since 2005. I agree he won't likely have the same kind of output as he had between 2005 and 2007 (playing almost every game) but the Marlins certainly need his services for most of the season at the top of the order and in the post season when it matters most. 85% is good enough and it's likely the Fish will probably sub him more often than the Mets did.  They will find other guys to lead off when he's resting.  Bonifacio can play every position including SS and he will likely play there when Reyes isn't playing only because Hanley will need as many reps at 3B as he can get all season to get comfortable there long term. Not sure what is going to happen with Chris Coghlan but he gets healthy and finds his stroke again he could challenge Omar Ifante for the #2 spot in the batting lineup.



Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:57 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

pujols would be a fool to leave a championship caliber team in the cardinals and not sign a huge contract. he has already won 2 world series in st. louis, why uproot yourself and go to a team that barely draws 10,000 fans a game??? people dont care bout baseball in florida.....go ask the tampa bay rays how many fans they draw? at the rate the marlins are going, they will have to piece this team out sooner than later. dont be foolish albert....make the right choice.



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:32 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Really, Dec, and we are saying we can take the divsion? Really, brand new stadium, Reyes, Bell and some possibilities? Really, I wish ya the best of luck Miami, but put down the pipe. Isn't there an investigation of some monies? Allot can happen in a month so don't overspend like some teams have saying the same things for a long time. I hope J.J makes a full recovery, and Sanchez can stay consistant, oh yeah and i hope Hanley's back and shoulder heals up for a full season. Don't forget your rookies that need to grow up.
How about them Cubbies? DeJesus is going to bring you to the promise land!!!


I am a Jays fan, but I am now also a Miami Marlins fan. They are going to beat up on the Nats, Mets, Braves and possibly the Phillies. Not ready to anoint them yet though. If they can add Pujols, it would change the whole equation. 



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:29 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Not amounted to anything.  How many playoff appearences do the Jays have in the last decade?  How about WS wins?  O right, none.
What have the Phillies accomplished besides regular season success? I know pal, the truth hurts. But it is the truth. No, you are right. The Jays haven't accomplished much the past 10 years, damn even for the past 15. BUT, we did beat the Phillies in one of the most memorable World Series of all time! Jays have been around since the 1970's and still have just as many World Series titles as the Phillies do in there existence (1883). Kind of irrelevant though, this article is about The Marlins, Pujols and The Phillies, not the Blue Jays. 



Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:26 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

And let me also go on record by saying that if the Marlins acquire Pujols in addition to what they already have, they have a very good case for the NL East.  It will be strength against strength (Marlins Bats vs. Phils Arms).  It would be quite compelling.  I just hope for the Marlins that they new stadium and increased spending will put more fans in the seats.  



Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:11 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

With Pujols they have a chance at the NL East. Without him that rotation isn't strong enough to get it done, Josh Johnson has elite stuff, but he's gotta stay healthy. And don't forget about the Braves either. Man, Reyes and Ramirez at SS and 3B...that could be an all-time left side of the infield pair in terms of offensive talent.



Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:10 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Not amounted to anything.  How many playoff appearences do the Jays have in the last decade?  How about WS wins?  O right, none.



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:57 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

For all the hype around the Phillies the past few years, regular season aside.. they have accomplished nothing what so ever. Kind of like the Eagles and there "dream team". 



Since: Oct 7, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:20 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Really, Dec, and we are saying we can take the divsion? Really, brand new stadium, Reyes, Bell and some possibilities? Really, I wish ya the best of luck Miami, but put down the pipe. Isn't there an investigation of some monies? Allot can happen in a month so don't overspend like some teams have saying the same things for a long time. I hope J.J makes a full recovery, and Sanchez can stay consistant, oh yeah and i hope Hanley's back and shoulder heals up for a full season. Don't forget your rookies that need to grow up.



Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:18 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

Reyes helped the Mets finish 25 back of the Phillies(who had an off year)
ok, settle down there whippersnapper. Dont get your panties knotted up. I understand Heath Bell is going a bit out there with his prediction but the Phillies winning 102 games is not an off year.


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