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Marlins seeking starting pitching

MIAMI — Already, the Marlins have made significant upgrades with the free agent signings of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle.

What’s next?

Speculation remains that Miami has interest in slugger Prince Fielder. That’s not the case.

The organization is focusing its attention on bringing in more starting pitching. They’d like to add another veteran, mostly likely through a trade.

Oakland’s Gio Gonzalez is high on the list. But the asking price also is high. So it’s a matter of how comfortable the club is parting with players already on their big league roster, along with prospects.

Lefty Joe Saunders is on the market, but he doesn’t appear to be a fit.

Joe Frisaro

 

Dobbs remains option for Miami

MIAMI — Greg Dobbs is attracking interest from several teams, one of them being the Nationals. But a return to the Marlins still remains a possibility for the veteran infielder.

Miami remains in the mix to sign Dobbs as a free agent. In 2011, he was a bargain, signing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Dobbs, 33, initially was used as a left-handed bat off the bench, but he ended up getting regular playing time, mainly at third base.

Dobbs batted .275 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs in 411 at-bats.

As a pinch-hitter, he made big impact, hitting .370 (10-for-27) with a home run and eight RBIs.

Joe Frisaro  

Trading Hanley remains unlikely

MIAMI — Once again, Hanley Ramirez finds his name in trade speculation.

The latest report comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who claims at least four teams have talked to the Marlins about Ramirez.

As the dust settles in the aftermath of the Winter Meetings, this much is clear. MLB.com has learned several teams indeed spoke with Miami officials about Ramirez in Dallas. But the Marlins didn’t initiate the conversations. They were measuring what might be out there should they decide to shop their All-Star infielder.

After Miami signed Jose Reyes, some teams wondered what was next with Ramirez? Since the Marlins are open to talking about any of their players, they listened. Nothing more.

What should be clear is the Marlins have no intentions of trading Ramirez. They are hoping he makes a smooth transition to third base.

The team envisions Reyes and Ramirez forming one of the most dynamic left sides of an infield in the big leagues. That’s the hope. They see Reyes leading off, creating havoc, and Ramirez having ample opportunities to drive in runs.

If both are playing at a high level, the Marlins should have an explosive offense.

Right now, Ramirez is rehabbing his surgically-repaired left shoulder and working out in Miami with his former teammate, Miguel Cabrera.

For now, speculation that Ramirez will be traded is just that.

The Marlins are not looking to move Ramirez. But based on feedback they received in Dallas, they know there is a market for their talented infielder, should the organization have a change of heart.

Joe Frisaro

 

Fielder not part of Marlins’ plans

MIAMI — Major signings highlighted the week for the Marlins.

Could there be more to come?

The short answer is, don’t look for anything, any time soon. That is the case at least when it comes to high-priced free agents.

Prince Fielder has drawn a lot of attention on the rumor front. The Marlins insist they are not in the running for the slugger.

“We never pinpointed Fielder,” team president David Samson said.

The Marlins did target Albert Pujols, and made a 10-year offer of just over $200 million. Now that Pujols is headed to the Angels, the natural assumption among Miami fans is: Will the suddenly free-spending team go after Fielder?

It doesn’t look like it.

“It was always Albert from the beginning,” Samson said.

Pujols was courted because quite simply, he’s the best player in the game. He is an iconic figure who would be a huge draw in terms of selling tickets for several years.

Still, Fielder would be a huge presence in the lineup.

But after allocating $191 million this week on Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, the Marlins are not anticipating signing Fielder for more than $150 million.

Could that stance change? Never say never.

Just don’t look for it unless Fielder’s market thins out in the next couple of weeks.

Joe Frisaro

Miami offered Pujols ‘hair’ more than $200 million

MIAMI — Marlins president David Samson shed some light on Friday as to why Miami withdrew its offer to Albert Pujols on Wednesday.

After Miami reached agreement with Mark Buehrle on Wednesday, the team knew it no longer was in the Alber Pujols Sweepstakes.

Samson said the Marlins’ offer to Pujols was “a hair” more than $200 million for 10 years. It was believed to be $210 million.

Samson briefly addressed the pursuit of Pujols on Friday after the club announced the signing of Buehrle to a four-year, $58 million contract.

A report in USA Today said the Marlins presented Pujols with a bid of $275 million over 10 years.

“We withdrew our offer after we were able to secure Mark Buehrle,” Samson said. “We had a feeling the whole time that it [signing Pujols] was not going to work. As the week progressed, we went to where we were comfortable, and clearly it was nowhere near what he eventually got from Los Angeles.”

Joe Frisaro

Marlins make substantial offer to Wilson

DALLAS — Don’t discount the Marlins’ efforts to add another high-profile free agent pitcher.

On Wednesday night, team officials met with left-hander C.J. Wilson at the Hilton Anatole. The Marlins, according to a source, have a “substantial” six-year offer on the table. The total package is believed to be in the $80 million range.

The question is whether the deal is enough to convince Wilson to sign with Miami instead of the Angels, who have presented a five-year deal. The Angels contract is said to have a higher annual average, but not as many years.

Wilson is from California, and if he signs with the Angels, he would have the comfort of going home. The Marlins are hoping to convince the southpaw to give South Florida a chance.

The Marlins on Wednesday reached agreement with Mark Buehrle on the same day they officially signed Jose Reyes. And on Monday, closer Heath Bell signed for three years. If they add Wilson, they would complete one of the most active Winter Meetings by any team in recent memory.

There are reports that Wilson is leaning towards signing with the Angels. But the Marlins are hoping that his face-to-face meeting with team officials will sway him towards South Beach.

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins announcing Reyes signing

DALLAS — The Marlins are officially announcing the signing of Jose Reyes at a news conference Wednesday morning.

Reyes will be introduced as Miami’s starting shortstop at 12:15 p.m. ET at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

The Marlins reached agreement on a six-year, $106 million deal for the All-Star shortstop on Sunday night. He passed his physical on Tuesday.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins meet again with Pujols agent

DALLAS — Marlins officials continued their pursuit of Albert Pujols on Tuesday as they met for the second straight day with the slugger’s agent, Dan Lozano.

Team executives entered a meeting around noon CT with Lozano.

“We will definitely have stuff for you this afternoon,” Marlins president David Samson told reporters on Tuesday. “We will know more when we are back.”

The Marlins have increased their offer to 10 years. The dollar amount is believed to be more than $200 million for the All-Star first baseman.

For weeks the Marlins have been in discussions with Pujols’ agent, and the team would like to bring some closure to the process.

Joe Frisaro

 

Reasons the Marlins want Pujols

DALLAS — For a team that continues to talk about the need for starting pitching, the Marlins certainly are spending their time and money on improving their lineup.

Jose Reyes is on the brink of finalizing his six-year deal, and on Monday, the organization pushed hard for Albert Pujols.

Is this the right strategy for a roster that seeks two proven starters?

The simple answer is the pursuit of Pujols means the Marlins are traveling one of many paths that the team has mapped out.

If they are able to pull Pujols away from St. Louis, then they will move into another direction in terms of finding a couple of starters.

If the pursuit of Pujols falls short, look for the Marlins to allocate more dollars toward potential rotation upgrades.

The reason the Marlins are going hard after Pujols is because they feel the need for offense. Signing Reyes provides an impact bat, but the Marlins want more.

In a division that features some of the best starting pitchers in the game, the Marlins are looking for as much offensive punch as they can get. And Pujols is the slugger who would take the lineup to the next level.

The Marlins met early afternoon with Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday. And they reportedly will meet again at night. Look for on-going dialogue between both sides throughout the Winter Meetings.

Should Pujols sign with Miami, look for the Marlins to seek starting pitchers through trades. The team is willing to part with its top prospects for quality arms.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins hotly pursuing Pujols

DALLAS — Marlins officials on Monday afternoon met with the agent of slugger Albert Pujols.

Miami clearly isn’t done shopping.

For a couple of hours, Marlins executives met with agent Dan Lozano regarding Pujols.

The Marlins are making a strong push for the slugger, and seem willing to up their original nine-year offer made a few weeks ago.

After locking up Jose Reyes on a six-year deal on Sunday night, the Marlins attention turned quickly to the Cardinals first baseman, who is testing the free agent market.

Pujols visited the Marlins new ballpark and met with team officals in mid-November.

Joe Frisaro

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