Reporting Tim Kephart
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DALLAS, Texas (CBSMiami.com) – If the Miami Marlins are not able to sign free agent first baseman Albert Pujols; Marlins fans shouldn’t be ready to commit hari kari.
The Marlins can immediately turn their attention to the second best free agent first baseman, Prince Fielder.
The son of Cecil Fielder, he’s not quite as good defensively, but he’s a beast at the plate who hits bombs regularly throughout the season.
Fielder would come at a much smaller cost, perhaps $30 – $50 million less, and would sign for fewer years. Plus, Fielder is just 27-years-old and could have more productive years ahead of him than Pujols.
But, the Marlins were willing to go all in on Pujols not only for his baseball value, but also for his marketing value to Latin America and Latin American companies based in Miami.
So it’s unknown if the Marlins would jump in the Fielder sweepstakes if Pujols re-signs with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Marlins would definitely kick their pursuit of starting pitcher Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson into high gear if the Pujols pursuit comes up short.
Both are believed to have offers from the Marlins, and published reports have said owner Jeffrey Loria is pushing for Wilson.
Either pitcher would immediately boost a pitching staff that is still in a state of flux until the team sees exactly what ace Josh Johnson looks like after his injury-plagued season in 2011.
Wilson will be 31 in 2012 and has only been a starter for two seasons after being moved from the bullpen.
But in the two seasons Wilson has been a starter, he’s won 31 games and lost just 15 and his ERA is around 3.15 for those two seasons.
His strikeout to walk ratio is roughly 2-1 for his career, but no team has been willing to break the bank for Wilson, yet.
Buehrle would be reunited with his manager from the White Sox, Ozzie Guillen, if he joined the Marlins staff.
Buehrle will be 33-years-old next season, but is a proven winner from his White Sox days. He has a career record of 161-119 and averages 15 wins a season.
Buehrle would be a much-needed southpaw for the Marlins rotation. Buehrle averages 223 innings pitched for his career and averages roughly 35 games started per season.
Then there’s also the chance that if the Marlins did sign Fielder, they could also then move Gaby Sanchez and possibly Hanley Ramirez in a trade for Oakland Athletics left-handed starting pitcher, and Hialeah-native, Gio Gonzalez.
Needless to say, the Marlins have a plethora of options if they sign Pujols, or if they come up short in their pursuit of Pujols.