Florida Miami Marlins are looking to start their new era with a bang. They’ve already hired fiery manager Ozzie Guillen and now they are looking to make a splash in free agency as they head into their new ballpark in 2012.
The Marlins are currently in talks with free agent shortstop Jose Reyes. If Reyes heads to Miami that would mean a new position or a new team for Hanley Ramirez. Given Ramirez’s problems in Florida, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him headed elsewhere this offseason, but if he moved to another position it could give the Marlins a pretty potent 1-2 punch with Reyes and Ramirez.
Ramirez even said in September that he would love to play with Reyes, so that means he’d likely be fine with a position change if it meant that the 28-year-old former Mets shortstop arrived in town.
Reyes won the National League batting title in 2011 with a .337 average, despite playing in just 126 games. He is a career .292 hitter, with 81 home runs and 423 RBI over nine seasons in New York. He also boasts a career on-base percentage of .341, and a .441 slugging percentage, giving him an OPS of .782. Those numbers include an injury-plagued season in 2009 and two partial seasons in 2003 and 2004.
If Reyes can stay healthy he would be a huge boost to the Marlins. This season he looked like the guy who had 246 extra base hits from 2005-08, and hit .287 over that stretch with 258 stolen bases.
Reyes is clearly one of the top three free agent position players available this offseason, behind Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. If the Marlins could land him and one of the top free agent pitchers – C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle are said to interest them – it would be a huge coup.
The fact that they are already in discussions with Reyes this early in the process leads me to believe the talks are serious.
UPDATE: The Marlins are scheduled to meet with Mark Buehrle on Tuesday, Reyes on Wednesday and Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedis on Thursday and are thought to be a serious player for all three guys.
If the Marlins somehow beat out the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals or any of the big market teams that will be players in the free agent market for Cespedis or Buehrle, it would be a huge upset. Then again, as mentioned above, the Marlins have a ton of cash to throw around this winter and are looking to make a splash.