A few weeks back, before the Cardinals pulled off the greatest two-game winning streak in my lifetime, I noted one of the provocative storylines centered around the impending free agency gold rush the offseason would present. And just like the NBA during the summer of 2010, an unshakable feeling of something major going down lingers in the air. Joe Johnson resigned with Atlanta, deciding $127M was more enticing than playing with Derrick Rose and an upstart Bulls team we now see is one two-guard away from domination. Amar’e Stoudamire went to New York, thus clearing the way for Carmelo Anthony months later. That “monumental feeling,” however, manifested itself when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh stunned the sports world by all signing with the Miami Heat.
Fast forward nearly a year and a half later, another South Florida team could potentially pull off the same feat.
On Friday, I was watching the UNC/Michigan State game at a friend’s apartment. Carolina was beginning to pull away when my homie Joe suddenly blurted, “Oh shit!” It took a second to register, but he was referring to the piece of news scrolling on ESPN’s Bottom Line. The Miami Marlins are apparently in talks, or at least have interest, in breaking the bank by potentially signing Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and, the crowned jewel of the 2011 offseason, Albert Pujols. So yeah, “oh shit” indeed. On the surface, the thought of all three signing with Miami seems laughable, but as Kevin Garnett so eloquently noted in 2008, anything is possible; especially baseball where the financial structure is different from basketball and football.
Pending this happens we can hold these four truths to be self-evident:
1. A one-two combo of (a completely healthy) Josh Johnson and Buehrle could be hell come playoff time.
2. Having (a completely healthy) Jose Reyes bat in front of Albert is just plain silly. It’s like someone giving you a Bentley and a free gas for life card. That makes perfect sense in my eyes.
3. There will definitely be more than 17 people in the stands now. But they may not show up until the fourth inning. You know how Miami crowds like to be fashionably late.
4. Now no longer in active use, the debate about the OG Marlins fitted can begin. I say top five ever.
For what it’s worth, Pujols/Reyes/Buehrle would lack the overall star power of James/Wade/Bosh, but the end result is identical. The Heat became instant title contenders and one of the key reasons last season was so polarizing. And for all the ill will associated with Bron’s headband, Wade’s “everybody hates us” mentality and Bosh’s tears, it should be noted they were a horrible fourth quarter in Game 2 away from pulling off the biggest “we told you so” in sports history. The Marlins find themselves in the same exact predicament pending they can sign the trifecta. They immediately become the favorites to win the NL East with the Phillies taking exception (go Braves, by the way); not to mention instant World Series contenders.
It’s all a game of “what if” at the moment, but if the Marlins can convince three of the year’s most sought after free agents to take their talents to South Beach, the “Migration to Miami” will not only present a serious case of déjà vu, but keep this in mind, too. This could all happen with Ozzie Guillen as manager and blood brother of Rex Ryan in terms of coaches whose best personality trait is that they do not know when to shut up. In fact, Ozzie in Miami has the potential to produce a pretty entertaining reality show as well as some of the greatest drunk athlete photos of all time.
On second thought, that last sentence may happen regardless.