The Miami Marlins unveiled their new identity and duds (literally and figuratively) Friday night, but all indicators point to even more action in the free agent market in an attempt to contend with the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves may be look to improve from within, but the Marlins are completely reinventing themselves for the 2012 season in a big way. Not only have they done away with the Florida Marlins moniker – even though they won two World Series under it – but they have completely rebranded themselves as they move into a new stadium.
It is this new stadium and new attitude that owner Jeffrey Loria hopes will attract some big names to south Florida.
The Marlins already gave Jose Reyes a tour of the new stadium on Wednesday, and Hanley Ramirez has even indicated that he would move to third base if the Marlins brought in the former New York Mets speedster.
"I'm a shortstop right now, so I don't know. I consider myself a shortstop… He's got a lot of energy at the top of the lineup. He would help any team," Ramirez said.
Miami has also brought in Albert Pujols for a tour of the new ballpark and seems to be ready for a long courtship. Pujols just won his second World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals and came off a "down" year where he failed to reach 100 RBIs and hit .300 for the first time in his career.
It just happens that he "only" drove in 99 runs and hit .299.
Imagine Pujols in a lineup that already has Mike Stanton and the budding Logan Morrison, or Reyes alongside the speed of Emilio Bonafacio and Ramirez. Even scarier, imagine both.
And then take into account Ozzie Guillen at the helm and the fact that he is pushing for the Marlins to make a run at signing Mark Buehrle, who would finally give Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez a solid arm that is not over the hill, so to speak.
All things considered, Frank Wren and the Braves must consider both the Phillies and the Marlins as teams to beat going into 2012. If Wren does not take this new threat seriously, it may be an full season collapse as opposed to one month, and the man whose head everyone wants may be his own.
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