The Marlins are prepared to look into signing even the most expensive free agents this offseason, sources close to the team tell Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. This includes the likes of Albert Pujols, C.C. Sabathia or Prince Fielder, though Capozzi notes that it could be a stretch seeing any of those players in South Beach next year.
Still, with the team's new ballpark opening in Miami in April, team president David Samson says owner Jeffrey Loria is prepared to spend to put a competitve team on the field in 2012.
"Basically, what Jeffrey has instructed all of us is that no stone will be left unturned in order to make this year a memory and make next year unforgettable,' Samson said. "He said, 'I want people to forget about '11, forget about Sun Life Stadium, forget about the Florida Marlins, and I want the Miami Marlins to have their franchise start by making history.' "
We've already heard about Florida's interest in Aramis Ramirez and C.J. Wilson and Capozzi adds that the Marlins are also keeping an eye on Joey Votto should the Reds decide to make their star first baseman available. Though any team would be interested in the likes of Votto, Pujols and Fielder, this focus on first basemen could indicate the Marlins are dissatisfied with Gaby Sanchez and could look to make a move at first even if they don't acquire a superstar.
One source tells Capozzi that the Marlins' payroll could be close to $100MM next season. Cot's Baseball Contracts records Florida's 2011 payroll at a bit under $58MM and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at what the Fish could spend on their arbitration-eligible players.