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.
"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."