Looking to make a splash as they head into the 2012 season with a new manager and a shiny new ballp ark, the Florida Marlins have reportedly shown interest in premier free agent short stop Jose Reyes. According to ESPN, Reyes met with Marlins officials on Wednesday and he is apparently their top off-season priority.
Many speculated during the 2011 MLB season that the Marlins might be major players in the free agent market as they looked to increase a relatively paltry $57 million payroll as they prepared to open a new stadium. The acquisition of Reyes would not only help the Marlins on the field, making them instant contenders in a tough NL East, but it would help them further tap into the large Latin American market that exist in South Florida, with Reyes being from the Dominican Republic. Along with current all-star short stop Hanley Ramirez – who would presumably move to third base to accommodate the Reyes signing – that would give the Marlins two young Latin American players to save as the face of the franchise, along with new manager Ozzie Guillen who is from Venezuela.
For a team looking to turn around their on the field fortunes and find ways to tap into a fairly apathetic baseball market, this seems to be an obvious strategy to make the team relevant again.