Friday, November 18, 2011

Are The Marlins For Real?

The news this week that the Miami Marlins had offered Jose Reyes a six year deal worth roughly $90 million sent many Mets fans, myself included, into a panic. However, having had a few days to digest the news has allowed me to take on a bit of a different perspective. That new perspective was aided by the news that the Marlins have since offered a nine year deal worth $225 million to Albert Pujols.

So, over the past 72 hours the Marlins have committed an estimated $315 million over the next nine years. These mega deals are absolutely new to the Marlins' franchise. In fact... here is a quick break down of the Marlins' payroll expenses in recent years:

US Today
Yes, thats right...The Miami Marlins have offered almost as much money in the past 72 hours as they've paid out in the last EIGHT years!!  While they're at it, they've claimed to be interested in bringing additional starting pitching as well.  We all know that quality starting pitching doesn't come cheap...

So what is the ultimate goal here?  To fill seats...  Since 2004, the year following their last World Series title, the Marlins have been no better than 26th out of 30 teams in annual attendance (source).  When you combining that with the fact that they are on the hook for $155 million of the reported $515 million dollar (source) Miami Ballpark, it makes sense that they would stress filling most of those empty seats.

I'm not saying that the Marlins don't have the cash to bring in top tier talent, because quite frankly I have no idea.  What I am saying is, it is 100% out of character for the Marlins to spend money in this fashion.  I do not believe that they are players for both Reyes and Pujols.  In fact, I think they have no real interest in signing Pulojs or Prince Fielder (who they've also been tied to) to anything resembling a $200 million dollar contract.  Therefore, Jose Reyes appears to be the prime target.  Whether their intentions are genuine remain to be seen, but the Marlins are not adept at this type of negotiation and if nothing else that leaves the Mets with a window of opportunity.

I'm not resigned to Jose Reyes signing elsewhere..at least not yet.  I'm not convinced the Marlins are real players in this market.  They just don't have the history.  That could change, but after some brief panic...I think the Jose Reyes negotiations are far from over.

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