Marlins’ “Reyes”-ing the bar in the NL East?

With the news that the Miami Marlins have pried shortstop Jose Reyes away from his previous team, the New York Mets, and other teams, and the announcement of the signing of free agent closer Heath Bell, it’s certainly raised eyebrows at Nationals Park and in Dallas at the Winter Meetings.

Reyes reportedly has signed a six-year guaranteed deal worth up to $106 million with Miami. Reports also say that Hanley Ramirez has agreed to move to third base, making the left side of the Marlins infield an imposing force.

Reyes was already in the division so the Nationals will see him just as often as they would have anyway and it actually hurts the Mets more since he stays in the division and they lose a major contributor coming off a career year (.337) on a losing team.

Bell is also a big signing for a Miami bullpen which has been its weak link in an otherwise pretty stocked starting pitching staff.

Now there are rumblings that perennial MVP candidate Albert Pujols is being strongly courted by Miami and could end up in South Florida if he does not re-sign with his current team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

What will the Nationals do with these moves by the Marlins? Is this going to alter their focus or strategy in Dallas?

Will this make general manager Mike Rizzo and his staff ramp up their efforts to grab the best center fielder available as well as through more money at pitcher Mark Buehrle because they feel the pressure of a Miami hurricane brewing?

It is no secret around the major leagues that the Nationals are building from within and have put together a minor league system filled with top prospects that Baseball America deemed the best class of 2011.

There are a list of prospects other teams might ask for if the Nationals want to trade for every day players.

A.J. Cole, Robbie Ray and Sammy Solis are pitchers that are at the top of other teams’ wish lists. Michael Taylor and Destin Hood are offensive stars that scouts have an eye out for and you wonder if this is the Winter Meetings when Rizzo will pull the trigger on dealing prospects for front line starters.

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