By Matt Snyder
DALLAS -- In one fell swoop, the Miami Marlins had their thunder stolen.
First, let's set the scene.
The annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings always come to a close on a Thursday. In most years, the hotel lobby is hopping like mad for Monday through Wednesday but is a veritable ghost town come post-lunch time Thursday. There's the Rule 5 Draft Thursday morning, and by late afternoon most writers are either already home or preparing to fly out.
At about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, the Marlins were the huge story of the Winter Meetings. Not only had they landed a trio of All-Stars in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell -- committing $191 million in future payroll to the three -- but they were also attached to rumors on Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and sometimes even Prince Fielder throughout the week. When Marlins' brass Jeffrey Loria, Larry Beinfest and David Samson walked through the lobby earlier in the week, a flock of reporters and cameramen were following them like paparazzi clings to Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt. New manager Ozzie Guillen had a Joker-like permanent smile on his face. The Marlins were, as one writer remarked on Twitter, the "belles of the ball."
|MLB Winter Meetings|
And when everyone leaves the meetings for good, the top team that will stick out in everyone's mind is the Los Angeles Angels, not the Miami Marlins.
This was not what owner Jeffrey Loria wanted. This was supposed to be the Marlins' time. They are moving into a new stadium that they'd waited on for years. They have a new name and new uniforms. They want people to buy them as legitimate contenders and take them seriously. They very well could be contenders and might be transforming into a legitimate large-market team, but the thunder of the three signings has been completely stolen by the already-large-market Angels swooping in and getting a bigger star position player and a better starting pitcher than the Marlins landed.
Will this anger the Marlins, causing them to go hard after Prince Fielder -- a player most reported was not on their radar at this time Wednesday? It's hard to tell.
But for now, the Marlins get second billing at these Winter Meetings. The Angels were the top dog.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.