Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria must be having a pretty good laugh right now, because we had mostly assumed that the rumors of his courtship of this offseason’s biggest free agents were a load of fish poop. The Marlins had been publicly enamored with Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, Mark Buerhle and C.J. Wilson, but, by all accounts, their offers were riding a fine line between low-balling and insulting.
But low balls are better than no balls, because Loria flopped his big, ol’ pouch on the table as the winter meetings are kicking off in Dallas. The Marlins and Reyes have agreed on a 6-year deal worth $106 million, which ends the former Rookie of the Year’s 9-year stint with the New York Mets. The Mets wanted to keep Reyes, but they would need money for that and they don’t have any. Whoops?
By increasing their offer to Reyes, they knocked the Mets out of the running to hang on to their shortstop. The Mets were reportedly willing to give Reyes no more than five-year deal worth $75 to $80 million.
(Via the Miami Herald)
And that’s actually smart thinking by the Mets, seeing as Reyes will turn 29 next season, and he has missed 191 games over the last 3 seasons. That’s a pretty bold investment for the Marlins. I know what you’re thinking, though – don’t the Marlins already have a stud shortstop? Sure they do, but screw that guy!
With Reyes moving to South Florida and joining the Marlins in time for the opening of their new ballpark, incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez will move to third base, albeit reluctantly. Sources have said that Ramirez is not thrilled with the move.
Reyes joins former San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell as the Marlins’ big acquisitions this offseason, but word around the campfire is that Loria is hardly done. The team still plans to pursue Pujols, whose biggest offer remains the 9-year, $200 million deal from the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Marlins are also reportedly still crushing hard on Wilson and Buerhle.
Loria should be commended for making big moves to back up his promises of giving the city a competitive team when its brand new, $645 million stadium opens next season. And hopefully he’ll reserve a day to honor the city and county officials who gave the Marlins $500 million of that money before he completely backs the bus over them.