Marlins Make Offers to Pujols, Reyes, Buehrle

9:51pm: Loria confirmed the club made the offers, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  Marlins president David Samson, however, said the team had no official comment.  When asked if the club could afford all three players, Samson said “It’s a problem we never suspected could happen. That’s the true answer.”

5:03pm: The Marlins have made "substantial offers" to both Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and have also offered a contract to Mark Buehrle, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (both Twitter links).  The team met with Pujols today, Reyes on Wednesday and Buehrle on Tuesday but apparently already felt comfortable enough to make contract offers, though Heyman reports there is "nothing close" to a deal with any of the three.

Miami's aggressiveness is no surprise, given how the Marlins have been in hot pursuit of several top free agents already this offseason.  It's unlikely that Pujols, Reyes or Buehrle would sign so early without fully exploring the market for their services, though a blow-away offer from the Marlins could change their minds. 

The Marlins' payroll was expected to increase by as much as $35MM this winter, but signing Pujols, Reyes and Buehrle would add at least $60MM to the 2012 payroll.  That's a big outlay for three players — to put it in perspective, Cot's Baseball Contracts lists the entire Marlins payroll for 2011 as just under $57.7MM.  Given how committed Jeffrey Loria is to put a competitive team into his new ballpark, we may have been conservative with our estimates about how much the Marlins are willing to spend this winter.



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