The Marlins have really been turning heads this offseason. There have been some big changes in the organization and things may be turning around in South Florida. This offseason, the Marlins have made some huge changes in its appearance, management, and offseason strategy.
First off, the Marlins will now be known as the Miami Marlins, not the Florida Marlins. They have also changed their logo to the one pictured above which also means new uniforms (which I am not the biggest fan off.) The Marlins will be opening the 2012 season in a brand new stadium. We won’t be seeing the Marlins play in a football stadium with a faded Dolphins logo and yard lines any longer. Over at Fangraphs, Steve Slowinski really went in depth on the effects of the new park.
As far as management goes, the Marlins signed Ozzie Guillen as the new manager, a change that will drastically affect any club. Possibly the largest and boldest personality in the managerial world will be taking over a team that finished last in the NL East last year. I am interested to see how he handles Hanley Ramirez, who has reportedly had attitude problems in the past, as well as some of the other young guys on the team.
The Marlins aren’t known for having the most exciting offseasons in regards to acquisitions. I cannot remember the last time that the Marlins have gone out and signed a big name free agent. Most of their star players have been developed from within the system. This offseason though, things are changing. The Marlins have negotiated with some huge names and have made some offers. They have already struck their first big deal which was the signing of star closer, Heath Bell. The Marlins signed Bell on the first of December for a 3 year, $27 million deal including a vesting option for a fourth year worth $9 million. The Marlins don’t look to be done either. They have made offers or talked to nearly all of the big time free agents. They have talked to Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, and Roy Oswalt but the two players that they appear to be pressing the hardest for are Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.
The Marlins came out and offered Jose Reyes a 6 year deal worth around $90 million. Jon Heyman recently reported that the offer has been on the table for a while and that it could be increased. The only teams that look to be in on Reyes are the Mets and Marlins and I really like the chances of the Marlins signing him. It will be interesting to see if and where Hanley Ramirez is moved to. The Marlins might really appeal to Mark Buehrle due to the relationship that he and Ozzie Guillen developed while with the White Sox. Guillen brought Buehrle to South Floridavery early on and gave him a tour of the new park. The Marlins have expressed their need for a lefty and I think Buehrle will be the guy for them.
The Marlins payroll has been one of the lowest in the league over the past couple seasons so just how will they afford all these guys? MLB trade rumors reported that the Marlins payroll should increase to around $70 million but it could reach up to around $80 million. Ozzie Guillen told Ken Rosenthal that “This is for real, I don’t think this is a marketing thing. This is what [the Marlins] want. They’re trying to improve as quickly as they can….” after some of the media and industry were skeptical about these offers. The Marlins are certainly putting a lot of money into this new movement and there will be some risks. Regardless though, I think that they will be attracting a lot more fans and most importantly, compete for a playoff spot this year. I look forward to a lot more exciting news from the new Miami Marlins during this offseason.