The Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels Are All In

It has been quite an offseason thus far in Major League Baseball, with two teams standing out above the rest: the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Angels.

The Marlins (formerly of Florida) have been busy for some time, what with the building of their new stadium and their subsequent relocation, the complete overhaul of their team name and colors, and the hiring of former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen as their new skipper.

But this week takes the cake.

Miami has undoubtedly been the most active team in the league, signing three big-name free agents to contracts in the past week, while also making sizable offers to some others, two of which ended up being picked up by the Angels – more on that later.

To begin, the Marlins signed a pair of All-Stars. First, they brought in shortstop Jose Reyes from the division rival New York Mets for an astonishing $106 million over six years – astonishing because Reyes has been injury prone over the past few seasons and I didn’t know if he would receive that much money. Then, just a day later, they inked former San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract, filling a need at the back end of their bullpen.

On Wednesday, though, they may have topped even themselves, signing ace starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, who had previously spent his entire career with the White Sox, to a four-year, $58 million deal.

Not to be outdone, the Angels went on a splurge of their own the following day, cashing in on St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols – considered by many to be the best player in the game – by giving the All-Star first baseman the second-highest contract in baseball history ($254 million over 10 years). In addition, they agreed to terms with Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson, giving him five years and $77.5 million.

So, who’s the winner?

In my honest opinion, I would place the Angels’ moves slightly ahead of the Marlins’. I am not going to retract the statement that I made at the end of this past season when I said that whoever signs Pujols is going to become an instant contender. And with the starting rotation that they now possess (with a top four of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, and Wilson, all of whom won double-digit games and posted a combined ERA of 2.98), the Angels may have overtaken the Phillies as the best staff in baseball. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

The Marlins did take a risk by doling out such a large sum of cash to Reyes, who is still a question mark in terms of his health, but their pitching staff isn’t going to be anything to sneeze at either, with ace Josh Johnson now being joined by Buehrle to create quite a righty-lefty combination. Plus, they made a substantial upgrade by adding Bell as their closer.

At the end of the day, however, obviously neither team appears to be a loser. Personally, I just feel sorry for the poor teams that are going to have to play them over the next several years.

I’m just glad that Pujols stayed far away from my Atlanta Braves’ division. We already have enough to deal with when it comes to the Philadelphia Phillies, the up-and-coming Washington Nationals, and the always pesky New York Mets, without having to deal with any more major signings by the Fish.


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