- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
The Miami Marlins have made some waves this offseason. Aside from unveiling their colorful new uniforms and the new stadium’s massive aquarium behind home plate, they’ve come out throwing around some big offers early to several of the top free agents including Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Ryan Madson.
However, the Marlins’ approach to free agency has become as transparent as it has been aggressive. They’ve been wining and dining free agents left and right. But like a bad date, the Marlins’ lowball offers have often left their guests disappointed.
Even the most casual baseball fan knows the Marlins haven’t pursued a big-time free agent in years. Of course, their underwhelming offers have kept the Commissioner’s office happy, as the Marlins are certainly staying within MLB’s recommended guidelines for free-agent offers. The problem is, those types of offers never get players signed.
Indeed, the Marlins have already begun their most critical offseason in nearly a decade. With a new ballpark ready to open on Opening Day 2012, there is significant pressure to drum up buzz and interest -- the kind that attracts potential season-ticket holders and skybox lessors, as well as advertising and corporate sponsorship dollars. Case in point: the Marlins’ basketball brethren Miami Heat spoiled the local fan base with LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade on South Beach. What kind of buzz would signing Pujols and Reyes create?