Selling stadium and South Beach
MIAMI — A sparkling new stadium and the glitz of South Beach are being used to help sway free agents.
And most likely some meals at world famous Joe’s Stone Crab are on the agenda.
The Marlins are wasting little time selling all the glamour of Miami.
On Tuesday, team officials gave free agent Mark Buerhle the tour of the town. The left-hander took a trip to the new ballpark, and he was treated to the thrills of South Beach.
At a time most of the country is bracing for cooler weather, the Marlins are pitching sunshine.
They also are making a strong push in hopes of signing Buerhle, one of the top lefties on the market. With their new stadium set to open, the team is selling hope and promise.
What the Marlins also must be able to do is sell free agents on the belief this team is ready to win.
The way the organization sees things, players are after a couple of things — money and a chance to win.
Most likely it will take a contract of four years averaging about $15 million a season to get a Buerhle deal done.
There will be intense competition on the market, but already the Marlins are showing they are ready to be serious in their pursuit of proven talent.
Team owner Jeffrey Loria is stepping up, and being proactive in the process.
He did so in the final few weeks of the season, when he directly got involved in the hiring of Ozzie Guillen as manager.
Loria also was aggressive in convincing Omar Infante to remain with the Marlins, avoiding free agency. Infante signed a two-year, $8 million extension in the final days of the regular season.
The Marlins haven’t been this willing to spend on a high profile free agent since they signed Carlos Delgado in 2005. Again, that was a signing spearheaded by Loria.
Moving into their new ballpark has changed the playing field for the Marlins. With additional revenues, they have the necessary funding to be active on the market.
On Tuesday, team officials gave their attention to Buerhle, who saw first-hand the sizzle of the new stadium and the sights of South Beach.
On Wednesday, some more star treatment will be on the agenda as Mets free agent shortstop Jose Reyes gets the tour of the town.
– Joe Frisaro