In a further effort to cement their standing with Miami’s Latin American community, and presumably to improve their team’s on the field product, the Miami Marlins (formerly Florida Marlins) have reportedly offered a contract to free agent first baseman Albert Pujols. While no details of the offer have been released, the message being sent from South Beach is clear: this team expects to compete for a championship immediately, coinciding with the opening of their new stadium in 2012.
The Marlins have given indications that Pujols is not their top priority as a free agent, and all signs indicate that, if they were forced to only have one or two new pieces, they’d prefer to have Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle since they would better fit into Miami’s projected payroll for next year. But they have offered contracts to all three players, so it’ll be interesting to see how they play it if all three accept. In the unlikely scenario that the Marlins end up with Reyes and Pujols to add to current franchise centerpiece Hanley Ramirez, they might want to consider changing their name to the Miami Dominicans, as that would give them arguably the three best players in baseball from the Dominican Republic.
Assuming Miami’s aggressive free agent strategy results in the addition of at least one of their targets, recent history indicates that there is hope for them leading into next season. Those looking to capitalize on some early Las Vegas odds on the 2012 World Series Champion might take note of the fact that both the St. Louis Cardinals (2006) and New York Yankees (2009) won World Championships during the same season that they broke in a new ballpark.