Fish making waves in free agent market

MLB.com

Parker Fox, Sports Editor

The Florida Marlins have always been the type of team that closely scouts players and builds young teams through great development.  Unfortunately, they could never afford to keep their top players to stick around, notably seen in the total dismantling of the team in 1998 and 2004 after World Series Championships.  But the Marlins have a new name, new uniforms, new manager, a new stadium, and a new attitude.  An expected jolt in attendance has transformed the Miami Marlins from the smallest fish in the pond to one of the biggest.

            The Marlins began by signing the best closer in baseball, Heath Bell, to a three year, $27 million dollar contract.  A lot of noise was made at the prospect of signing former Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, but eventually the Angels came through with Pujols at ten years, $254 million (a bargain).  But the fact that the Marlins made a serious effort to sign Pujols is groundbreaking for the franchise.  It shows a true commitment to winning baseball games and being a contender year in and year out, not just every once in a while.

            “I thought my eyes were deceiving me when Sportscenter was saying the Marlins were talking with Pujols,” says senior Shane Smith.  “That would have been a huge deal if they got him.”

            But the Marlins were able to come away with another first class player, former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.  Reyes signed a six-year, $106 million contract with the Marlins last week.  In addition to being considered the fastest player in the MLB, Reyes has a great glove and won last year’s NL Batting Title.  Reyes will force Hanley Ramirez to move over to third so he can play shortstop. 

            The Marlins then went on to sign former White Sox horse Mark Buehrle to a four year, $58 million contract.  Buehrle will reunite with former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. 

            Hopefully for Marlins fans, their team will continue to sign top-notch players while developing their prospects as they always have.  When looking across the league, former Marlins are everywhere.  But it’s looking like the front office for the Marlins will start keeping their guys around by quitting their frugality.