The South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Mike Bernadino writes that the Marlins hope to sign free agent 1B Carlos Delgado. Which makes perfect sense ; when and if Delgado refuses to stand for “The Star Spangled Banner”, there won’t be anyone in the ballpark to boo him.

According to industry sources, the Marlins have offered a three-year deal in excess of $30 million for the left-handed hitting first baseman. Delgado, who makes his offseason home in Puerto Rico, is said to be giving the offer serious consideration.

Early offseason speculation about a possible Marlins bid proved baseless as the club went about filling holes in its bullpen and starting rotation. But early this week, Marlins General Manager Larry Beinfest called Sloane to express interest in Delgado.

By Thursday the Marlins had made a formal offer that was at least competitive with a previously reported bid from the Baltimore Orioles (three years, $30 million). The New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers are among Delgado’s other suitors, with the Mets expected to stay in the running even if they land free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

According to a source involved in the bidding, at least a half dozen teams are considered “viable candidates” to land Delgado, who made $68 million over the past four seasons. The Yankees, who signed Martinez in late December, aren’t among those bidders.

With a projected payroll already higher than their 2005 budget of $60 million, the Marlins wouldn’t seem to have the wherewithal to add a player of Delgado’s ilk. But owner Jeffrey Loria has produced “special money” before to sign a perennial All-Star in January, that being catcher Pudge Rodriguez two years ago.

That deal, however, was for one year and was heavily deferred. Landing Delgado for the next three years would represent a far more serious investment.

Florida are also said to be close to signing C Paul Lo Duca to a 3 year extension for somewhere between $16 and $18 million. Lo Duca earned $4 million last year, handling the Dodgers’ pitching staf before being dealt to the Marlins in one of the year’s more controversial trades.