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Marlins come out swinging in Big D

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - If you thought the Miami Marlins' offers to both Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols were nothing more than public relations window dressing, think again.

The Marlins made the biggest splash of the offseason Sunday night by agreeing to a six-year deal with Reyes, signing the electric shortstop for a reported $106 million.

And on Monday, there was word that they are not done -- in fact, far from it.

The Marlins again met with Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday and the plan was to up their original nine-year offer to the three-time National League MVP with the hopes of signing him by the time these Winter Meetings conclude on Thursday.

And, by the way, Florida also introduced new closer Heath Bell to the media on Monday.

So, yeah, the Marlins aren't kidding around.

It's still probably a longshot that they land Pujols, but you have to give them a better shot today than you did at the start of these meetings. At the very least with Reyes and Bell in the fold, Pujols knows they are for real.

Either way, they might be good enough right now to compete with the Philadelphia Phillies for NL East supremacy.
Albert Pujols
Add Albert Pujols and
forget about it -- they are as good as any team in the league.


Of course, you always have to worry about injuries with Reyes, but when he is healthy he is as good as any player in the league. (See the first half of last season.) Then again, take a look at what happened in the second half and you realize why the Mets were reluctant to go six years for him.

Reyes was the NL's MVP in the first half of the season, hitting .354 with 15 triples. Hamstring issues caused him to miss most of the second half, as he only played in 46 games and still managed to win the league's batting crown, but was nowhere near as dynamic as he was through the first 80 games.

Now he joins a lineup that already has one of the best young sluggers in the game in Mike Stanton and an emerging star in Gaby Sanchez, not to mention one of the best all-around players in baseball in Hanley Ramirez. Throw Reyes in there with a pitching staff led by Josh Johnson and bullpen anchored by Bell and the Phils won't have it nearly as easy as they did last year.

Add Pujols and forget about it -- they are as good as any team in the league.

Speaking of Ramirez, it will be interesting to see how he handles a move to third base. Apparently he was on board with the team bringing in Reyes early on in the process, but recently people close to him have let it be known that he is not all that happy with it.

Luckily the Marlins now have an even-keel skipper like Ozzie Guillen to handle that potential trainwreck, right?

Other rumblings here in Dallas:

* We have our first mystery team of these proceedings. Apparently, a team not named the Texas Rangers has a six-year deal on the table for left-hander C.J. Wilson. In other news, the general manager of said mystery team will likely be fired sometime in the next year -- that's if he hasn't already been committed to a mental hospital by then. This much we know: It's not the Marlins who made the offer.

* Kudos to the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee for selecting Ron Santo on Monday. Of course, it's way too little, too late, as Santo passed away just over a year ago due to complications from cancer and diabetes. His induction speech would have been an all-timer. For anyone who doesn't know his story, check out one of the best baseball documentaries I've ever seen, "This Old Cub," a tale about his playing days and subsequent battle with diabetes.

* The Phillies met with Jimmy Rollins' representatives on Monday and by all accounts it did not go well. Perhaps Ruben Amaro should have waited a bit and not met with his star shortstop a day after Reyes inked his mega deal. That one is going to be ugly. Also on the Phillies front, they are one of about three teams that are hot and heavy for third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Of course, they already have third base occupied by Placido Polanco.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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