Proactive Marlins looking into Reyes, Buehrle
Club to meet with highly touted free agents, Cespedes this week
MIAMI -- It isn't taking long for the Hot Stove season to heat up for the Marlins.
As advertised, the organization is being proactive in its quest for game-changing talent. Boosted by added revenues from their new stadium, the Marlins are actively surveying the market for proven players.
They've already made preliminary inquiries on free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes and left-hander Mark Buehrle.
According to an industry source, the Marlins were to meet with Buehrle on Tuesday. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also reported that the team would meet with Reyes on Wednesday. And on Thursday, a contingent of team officials, including owner Jeffrey Loria, will head to the Dominican Republic to watch the workout of center fielder Yoennis Cespedes, a Cuban defector.
Reaching out to the Mets shortstop and White Sox lefty were expected.
Cespedes, 26, is a bit of a wild card. He is a five-tool talent who is expected to be declared a free agent later this month. He is considered big league ready, with star power.
Florida's shopping list, however, isn't stopping with these three players. If the team hasn't done so already, it is expected to at least kick the tires on free-agent sluggers Albert Pujols (Cardinals) and Prince Fielder (Brewers).
Pitching is a high priority, and Buehrle was with new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen in Chicago.
Coming off a disappointing 72-90 season, Florida is looking to make a big splash as the club prepares to enter its new ballpark.
On Friday night, the team will officially change to the Miami Marlins, unveiling new uniforms and a new logo during an event that can be seen live on marlins.com. Merchandise will go on sale at 11 p.m. ET.
"We're going to be very active," Marlins president David Samson said a few days before the free-agency period began. "Whether we get deals done depends on the market. We're going to be very aggressive, but we're not going to be foolish. That's the key. When you raise your payroll, you've got to do it smartly, because if you don't, you are losing 90 games at a higher payroll."
Florida is not expected to make a strong push for Texas lefty C.J. Wilson, regarded as the top free-agent pitcher.
The Marlins' strong interest in Reyes comes at a time three-time All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is recovering from left shoulder surgery. Ramirez is expected to be ready for Opening Day, but if Reyes is Florida's top position player target, he would solidify shortstop.
So if Reyes is added, it would mean Ramirez will be changing positions, most likely going to third base.
While Pujols and Fielder would provide major impact bats, they both are projected to sign for more than $200 million. A combination of signing Reyes and Cespedes would be more cost effective, and that would leave enough revenue to sign pitchers like Buehrle.