The most important offseason for any franchise since the 2010 NBA free agent bonanza is right around the corner for the Florida Marlins, who come November 11th will be known as the "Miami Marlins".
Jayson Stark of ESPN recently wrote an article detailing the possibility of the Marlins being a surprise spender this offseason in the wake of their move to a new ballpark.
In that article, team President David Samson let it be known that: "With our payroll going up, we have a chance to put together a team at a payroll level we don't currently have and that could involve anything -- trades, free agents or a combination of both."
It's a statement we've heard since the days where the front office were finagling over financing for a new ballpark—that as soon as that dream was a reality, the payroll would soon rise. But can we take Samson's word for it?
Last offseason, the Marlins refused to give Dan Uggla a fifth year on a contract extension, which eventually led to the slugger's trade. But in the wake of that, the Marlins allocated that "Uggla money" towards catcher John Buck and pitcher Javier Vazquez, who after poor starts have turned their years around.
The Marlins gave Buck a three-year deal worth $18 million and Vazquez a one-year deal worth $7 million.
In many ways, they felt they had patched the problems that plagued the ballclub throughout 2010: lack of an offensive catching presence, veteran starter, and a below-average bullpen.
The team felt its offense, led by Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton, would be fine and that the rotation would be complete with JJ leading the way ahead of Nolasco, Sanchez, Vazquez, and Volstad.
Flash forward to September, the Marlins' offensive has been stagnant, so much so, they are on a pace to have one of worst seasons in that department since the strike-shortened 1994 season and the team now has serious rotation issues.
Javier Vazquez has made it known he is strongly leaning towards retirement at the end of the season and the Marlins are dealing with the shoulder injuries to both Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez.
In the same article, Stark mentions that the Marlins "will only get open their new park once....to attract people to check out the scenery as the new tourist attraction it is." And he is totally correct, the Marlins will have only one chance to reboot the franchise and the only way to make a splash beyond bringing Ozzie Guillen and that's to prove the fanbase wrong and shock the media and all of the sport by signing a big name free agent, in what will surely be a thin market.
With that, here are six names and the chances the Marlins have at them and what they will be looking to pay if they are prepared to shock the world, like the neighbor Miami Heat did 14 months ago.