On Friday, the Florida Marlins will become the Miami Marlins—but an attempt to reinvent the team can’t be vilified without some free-agent help.
Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post reports the name change, but a new name doesn’t change the fact that the Marlins lost 90 games last season and finished as cellar-dwellers of the NL East.
Fresh off his second World Series title in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, slugger Albert Pujols is reportedly on his way to Miami to meet with the Marlins as soon as Saturday. Matthew Leach of MLB.com says the Marlins will move to a new stadium next season and expand their payroll.
The Marlins now need a big player to bring in fans. According to ESPN, the Marlins finished 28th in MLB in attendance with fewer than 20,000 fans per game. The Marlins had a dismal 31-47 record at home, which was worse than their record on the road.
Pujols would be a huge bat to add to the lineup, but the Marlins seem to be working on more than just that. They must realize they’re more than one player away from becoming a legitimate contender.
The Marlins have also courted another big-name free agent—Jose Reyes.
Reyes batted .337 last season with 16 triples, but his name is what would provide the big boost in Miami. Jorge Sedano, morning show host on WAXY-AM 790 The Ticket in Miami, claims a deal with Reyes is in the works…and close to being done.
If Miami was able to land both huge free agents, the attendance at the new ballpark would explode. The comparisons to the Miami Heat’s success in free agency would be endless, but the Marlins are in a far worse state than the Heat were.
The Heat had won a NBA Championship with their star, Dwyane Wade. The Marlins have become infamous for letting big-name players go in the past, and now we know they may have been gearing up for this move.
Bringing in Pujols and Reyes would add scary hitters to a team full of players that looked scared at the plate—as no Marlin hit over .300 in 2011.
The biggest name in Florida baseball during the 2011 season was Mike Stanton, who hit 34 home runs. Stanton just turned 22 on Tuesday, so he still has room to grow, but the Marlins need to do whatever they can to keep him around.
If the Marlins are serious about bringing baseball to Miami, they should bring some quality players.