Jose Reyes setting up to bat against the Washington Nationals....

Jose Reyes setting up to bat against the Washington Nationals. (Sept. 13, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

ST. LOUIS -- The Marlins will have a new name, a new stadium and a new manager heading into the 2012 season. Could they have a new shortstop, too?

As the Mets' window of exclusivity with Jose Reyes winds down -- it ends five days after the conclusion of the World Series -- the Marlins may be preparing to enter the bidding for the free agent. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Reyes' close friend, Hanley Ramirez, told manager Ozzie Guillen that he'd switch to second base to be his buddy's double-play partner.

"I just got there, and I just want him on the field no matter where," Guillen said on an ESPN conference call. "Does it have to be at shortstop? Does it have to be somewhere else? I just want this kid to be on the field every day and that's what I'm looking for. The conversation was great. It's up to the Marlins what they have in mind, what they want to do. As long as this kid is on the field and gives me four at-bats every day, that's what I need."

Reyes' relationship with Ramirez could ultimately be a factor in where the shortstop ends up. The two are so close that Reyes considered asking Ramirez to be the godfather to one of his daughters two years ago before choosing another family friend. They also stay in touch regularly during the season.

Of course, there also is the question of whether the Marlins could afford Reyes, whose price has probably slipped some after recurring hamstring strains late in the season. But with the opening of a new retractable-roof stadium, Miami -- as the team is now known -- could choose to spend in order to make a big splash.

If the Marlins do jump in to the Reyes derby, the fiercest competition for the shortstop could be centered in the NL East. Although the Mets will push to re-sign Reyes, players inside their own clubhouse said they wouldn't be surprised to see the Nationals make a serious bid for him. It's also possible that the Phillies, if they don't choose to bring Jimmy Rollins back, could get involved as well.


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