"I'm going to take my talents to South Beach." —LeBron James, July 8, 2010
It looks like LeBron may have started a trend.
Heath Bell is no LeBron James, but he's a player with significant talent and could be a key component of any team looking to make the baseball postseason. Now he's a Marlin.
The Miami Marlins, who were previously known as the Florida Marlins, are looking to make an impact on the free-agent market this winter, and former Padres closer Health Bell became their first big signing last night when he agreed to a three-year deal worth $27 million.
The arrival of Bell on the scene in Miami may be a precursor to a higher-profile player who would grab more headlines upon arrival—but who?
Would the offseason's biggest free agent prize do the unthinkable and leave St. Louis for South Beach? Albert Pujols is widely expected to stay in St. Louis, but his name has been linked to Miami already.
There were many who felt that Miami was going to throw out a number of offers to numerous players this offseason and yet they seemed unlikely to land any of the big names. That's now changed, and it doesn't take a baseball genius to recognize that Miami has some solid starting pitching, some prolific young offense with players such as Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton, Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez, and now one of baseball's top closers as well.
The signing of Heath Bell doesn't insure that a big-name free agent will be paraphrasing LeBron James in a press release anytime soon, but it probably increases that likelihood of it, and that's got to be comforting to Marlins fans for now.