The Miami Marlins landed another big fish in free agency Sunday night, signing former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes to a blockbuster deal in advance of the opening of the team's new stadium in April.
According to ESPN.com, Reyes' deal is for six years and $106 million, with an option for a seventh year at $22 million.
The Marlins have the 2011 NL batting champion in the same infield as Hanley Ramirez, who won the batting title in 2009. Ramirez is expected to move to third base to accommodate Reyes. ESPN.com reports that Ramirez has already agreed to the move.
Reyes had the best season of his 9-year career, hitting .337 with 39 stolen bases and 16 triples. Though he does not walk as often as most leadoff hitters, Reyes' on-base percentage came in at .384 in 2011. In sabremetric terms, he was good for 6.2 Wins Above Replacement, sixth-best in the National league.
Signing Reyes means current shortstop Hanley Ramirez will have to vacate the shortstop position, but ESPN reports that he has already agreed to the move. In November, Ramirez was reportedly terse when asked about the prospect of switching, replying, "I'm the shortstop."
Team Loria's not done trying to lure top talent to Miami. ESPN also reported Sunday night the Marlins "still plan to make an aggressive run" at former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. A source told ESPN that Reyes' contract was structured such that the team could afford to add at least one more top free agent.
Pujols is the top target at the moment, but the Marlins have also been said to be interested in starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson. The team reportedly has made an offer to Wilson, while Buehrle and the Marlins have hit a snag in contract talks over a no-trade clause.
No matter who the team hones in on, it is not out of the question that the team could be significantly more of a threat in the NL East next season after this week's winter MLB meetings end in Dallas.
Marlins fans have become used to the Marlins trying to spend as little money on payroll as possible that the prospect of a $40 million infield might seem like a dream at the moment.
That dream might just come true, and the Marlins, of all teams, could be positioning themselves to make a run at a pennant in 2012.