Marlins players eager to recruit top targets
Morrison, Buck have high hopes as management makes offers
MIAMI -- Marlins management remains active in the pursuit of top free agents this offseason. If necessary, some players are willing to get involved in the recruiting process.
"I'm trying to win more games; why not?" catcher John Buck said.
Left fielder Logan Morrison has a message for players wanting to relocate to Miami and enjoy the surroundings of a newly rebranded team playing in a new ballpark.
"If you're good, come on over," Morrison said. "I want to win."
At the General Managers Meetings in Milwaukee this week, team officials are making headlines for their pursuit of big-ticket free agents like Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols and Mark Buehrle.
On Tuesday, Miami president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest reportedly met with Buerhle's agent, Jeff Berry. Buehrle, a veteran left-hander, is a proven winner. In his distinguished career with the White Sox, he has thrown a perfect game and a no-hitter and won a World Series ring.
When Buck was with the Royals, he frequently faced Buehrle. Through the years, they've gotten to know each other, and the Marlins catcher says he won't hesitate to call Buehrle in hopes of convincing him to sign with Miami.
"I know I'll be putting my call in to entice him," Buck said. "Not only is he good, but he would be rounding out and completing our staff -- being left-handed, being an innings eater, being all of those things."
Upgrading the starting rotation is a high priority for the Marlins. Ace Josh Johnson missed most of this past season due to right shoulder inflammation, and his loss greatly affected the club's standing for rest of the season.
The rotation was also predominantly right-handed. Rookie Brad Hand made 12 starts, and those were the only ones by a Marlins lefty. So Buehrle would not only be a top-of-the-rotation presence, he would also provide a different look.
"In Kansas City, I saw him quite a bit," Buck said. "There are so many things that would benefit -- just having his presence. He's a true professional. He's been doing it for so long, and he's so respected. He can get by, not so much like Josh, who has the stuff, but he knows how to pitch."
Last week, the Marlins gave Buehrle, Reyes and Pujols tours of their new ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami. All three received preliminary contract offers.
Reyes' offer is reportedly for six years and $90 million, while Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported that Pujols was given a nine-year offer. It is believed to average $25 million per year. There is no word yet on the parameters of Buehrle's offer, although it would likely be for four years.
"He's a solid person, and he's going to pass along stuff to guys along the way," Buck said. "He would benefit [the staff]."
Pujols' trip to Miami came on Friday afternoon, hours before the team was preparing for its renaming ceremony.
When Pujols was given his tour of the stadium, some Marlins players were already in the new ballpark, rehearsing for their modeling of the team's new uniforms. As part of the sales pitch, Pujols' image was shown on the giant video scoreboard.
The 37,000-seat ballpark is a focal point of the franchise. It gives the team its own identity after having shared Sun Life Stadium with the Miami Dolphins for 19 years. The Marlins are using the ballpark as a recruiting tool.
"I don't think you have to really talk up anything," Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez said. "I think this stadium says it all by itself."