It’s like an incarnation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers when talking about the new Miami Marlins.
The Florida Marlins, who officially became the Miami Marlins this week, are undergoing many changes this offseason, and they appear ready to take on even more.
With a new stadium, a new manager, new uniforms and a new logo, the new Miami Marlins appear to want to look pretty new on the field as well. This week, they have already wooed free agents Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, and MLB.com’s Matt Leach reports that the cream of the free agent crop, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, will visit Miami as well, possibly as early as Saturday.
These are your new Miami Marlins, ready to take on the world and spend money like it’s going out of style.
Wait, a minute, we’re talking about the Marlins here, right?
The same Marlins that have decimated their team twice after winning World Series championships, and who have been at or near the bottom of payroll spending for the better part of the last decade?
Well, we did say things were new in Miami.
Owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Sampson certainly appear ready to take on the change, and it no doubt has everything to do with wanting to make a big splash in their inaugural season at their brand-spanking-new stadium.
Signing Albert Pujols would certainly give them that splash.
Here are 10 reasons why the Miami Marlins should throw everything they have at Albert Pujols.
Considering that St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is the most attractive free agent to hit the open market in quite a while, if the Miami Marlins could somehow convince Pujols that Miami is the place to be, they will have instant bragging rights for the entire season.
Think about it—being the team that can sign Pujols would give the Marlins instant street cred among peeps in baseball, and would obviously give the Marlins a much better standing in terms of being a place that is all of the sudden popular to play at.
If Jeffrey Loria, David Sampson and Co. can be successful in convincing Albert Pujols that Miami is the place to be, the Marlins would instantly become one of the most formidable offenses in the National League.
With a potential middle of the order featuring Pujols, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, and a healthy and invigorated Hanley Ramirez possibly batting second, the Marlins would put forth a lineup that would be difficult for any team to pitch around.
Add to that the capable bats of Omar Infante and Chris Coghlan, and you now have a team that would be difficult for any pitcher to face.
The South Florida area has a strong and vibrant Latin population, and the then-Florida Marlins long struggled with attendance issues at their former home.
With a new stadium and a new manager (Ozzie Guillen) who is Latin himself and has strong ties to South Florida, the Marlins have already ignited passions among the Latin community.
Signing Albert Pujols would strengthen those ties even more. If Pujols starts at first base on Opening Day for the Marlins, near-sellout crowds should be expected for most home games, and the marketing and PR opportunities for the Marlins would be endless.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez has shouldered much of the responsibility as the leader of the Marlins’ offense ever since he arrived via trade from the Boston Red Sox in 2006. Injuries slowed Ramirez down significantly in the 2011 season, but he should be completely healthy when spring training starts in February.
If the Marlins are successful in getting Albert Pujols to sign on the dotted line, Ramirez will no longer be tasked with being the cog of the Marlins’ offense, and he can relax and play to his expectations without the added burden of being considered the go-to guy.
One thing that has always been known about Albert Pujols—his example on the field and in the clubhouse has an effect on the players around him, and that alone should be of great benefit to the Miami Marlins, who have endured clubhouse issues over the years, especially with Hanley Ramirez.
Pujols will absolutely not put up with any of the shenanigans that have dogged Ramirez in recent years, and Pujols' leadership and example in the clubhouse should have an instant effect.
There should be no question in anyone’s mind that Albert Pujols will one day be in the baseball Hall of Fame. His numbers over the first 11 seasons of his career almost assuredly guarantee that fact.
As Pujols continues to play and assault the record books, any team that signs him will reap the financial benefits with each passing year.
Yes, signing Pujols will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but that just might be a small price to pay considering what the return would be in terms of marketing, gate receipts and other financial opportunities down the road.
The Miami Marlins already have a pretty good first baseman in Gaby Sanchez. In two full seasons, Sanchez has already been voted an All Star and has become highly regarded for his developing offensive skills.
With the signing of Albert Pujols, Sanchez would become expendable, but he would give the Marlins a great trade chip that would return a terrific package of players. The Marlins could use Sanchez to strengthen their starting rotation and/or bring in complementary offensive pieces to their lineup.
Over the past week, the Miami Marlins have already wooed free agents Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, and team officials traveled to the Dominican Republic on Thursday to see and talk with highly touted Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes.
If the Marlins are able to sign Albert Pujols, it would instantly make Miami an attractive option for other free agents.
Granted, signing Pujols would preclude the Marlins from signing other high-value free agents, but there are quite a few complementary players out there who could certainly help, and they might be more receptive to the Marlins knowing that Pujols will be there.
Young right fielder Mike Stanton has already developed into a pretty special player for the Miami Marlins in his first two seasons. In 2011, Stanton hit 34 home runs, and his power potential continues to develop.
However, if the Marlins can’t surround Stanton with consistent run-producing hitters, teams will pitch around Stanton, making it difficult for him to see his pitch. With Albert Pujols in the Marlins lineup, Stanton would absolutely thrive.
The Miami Marlins have been at or near the bottom of the majors in terms of payroll spending for several seasons, and if reports are to be believed, they have been pocketing money given to them via the MLB revenue sharing plan without putting money back into the team for years.
By using all of that money to sign Albert Pujols, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Sampson would almost certainly be all but forgiven in the eyes of Marlins’ fans throughout South Florida.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter @Sports_A_Holic.