By Evan Brunell
The Marlins continue to be big movers and shakers in baseball's hot stove, attending a private workout for Cuban star Yoennis Cespedes and making plans for Albert Pujols (pictured) to come to Miami sometime in the next few days.
But with newfound money and a desire to spend it, also comes controversy. Hanley Ramirez addressed rumors that the Marlins were after Jose Reyes, telling the Palm Beach Post that "“I’m a shortstop."
The Marlins' visit to visit Cespedes was to decide if the 26-year-old was ready for the majors. Among the positions Florida -- which will officially change its name to Miami on Friday -- is thought to be seeking an upgrade in is center field. That's the position Cespedes plays, although many feel as if he will need seasoning in the minors. Cespedes was a star in Cuba, but the talent of that league is of the Class A variety.
“We had our top baseball people there,” Samson told the Palm Beach Post. “They were certainly impressed with his ability, He’s got to tools. He’s certainly an impressive player.”
The Marlins will have to contend with the Yankees, among other teams, for Cespedes' services. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler earlier today reported he could beat Aroldis Chapman's deal, which was for six years and $30.5 million. The Marlins are poised to be a big player in free agency, but can they withstand the Yankees' advances?
“We think we’re a great fit because we are Miami. We are a natural destination for any Latin player,” Samson said. “I think that he agrees but we have to see if we can make a deal that makes sense for both parties.”Meanwhile, Samson, along with baseball operationss president Larry Beinfest and general manager Mike Hill, who all attended Cespedes' workout, now turn their eyes to Albert Pujols. MLB.com reports that Pujols is slated to meet with the Marlins as early as Saturday. It still seems like a long shot for Pujols to sign, but without a clear suitor for Pujols, anything is possible. The team has already hosted Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes.
Hanley Ramirez is one guy feeling a little slighted by the Marlins' pursuit of Reyes, as it could knock him out of the shortstop role. However, he also praised Florida for trying to acquire Reyes.
"I think it would be a good move for the Marlins because they want to improve our offense and he’s a pretty good player and this organization needs him," he told the Post. "But otherwise, what can I say. I cannot control that. What I can control is to just get ready for the season and opening day. We have to build a winning team.”
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