I had a couple of things I was going to write about earlier tonight… but Jeffrey Loria and the Miami Marlins have made every other baseball story irrelevant for the moment.

Jose Reyes only got to spend one year with the Miami Marlins (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

In case you missed the news reports, the Marlins are close to completing a mega deal that would ship Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emiliano Bonifacio and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Yunel Escobar, backup catcher Jeff Mathis, 22-year-old starter Henderson Alvarez and four minor leaguers, including three of the Jays’ top 10 prospects.

Miami had a $118 million payroll on Opening Day; once the deal goes through, they’ll have just under $22 million committed to six players and they’ll be able to pay the rest of their roster at or slightly above major league minimum. And after tonight, I’d hardly be surprised to see the Marlins move Ricky Nolasco and his $11.5 million contract.

Giancarlo Stanton is the one star player Marlins fans have left to root for, and who knows how much longer he’ll be around. His reaction to the trade:

Maybe someone could see this deal as a way for the Marlins to restock their farm system while escaping some poorly thought out contracts. But really, who could blame fans for thinking it’s just a way to let Loria put more of the Marlins’ revenue-sharing money into his own bank account instead of using it to improve his team?

Keith Olbermann says Major League Baseball is dead in Florida.

It’s hard to argue with him.

If there are bright spots to the deal, well, Toronto is going to be in a lot better shape to challenge the New York Yankees next year. All four other teams in the American League East are strong, or at least potentially strong in the case of the Boston Red Sox. The Steinbrenner sons may find themselvesĀ wishing they were worrying about ways to explain empty seats at playoff games next October.

And the Mets, no matter what Sandy Alderson does this winter, are not a lock for last place in the National League East in next year’s pre-season predictions.

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About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper in New Jersey. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

13 responses

  1. I think this move makes the marlins better ,sounds crazy but i take talent on youth over money and fame

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    • Paul says:

      If we were talking about a different organization, I think you might have a point. But let’s assume that all the minor leaguers coming over to the Marlins eventually develop into stars – do you honestly believe that Miami will keep them long enough for it to matter?

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  2. I was initially shocked by the deal, and then came to my senses and asked myself “Why are you shocked? Backloaded contracts without no-trade clauses, you KNEW this was coming.”

    Congratulations have to go to Jeffrey Loria, who has now firebombed baseball fandom in two different cities. Unfortunately, I think Keith Olbermann is right that this will put a big hurt on the Rays’ long term plans. The sad part is that Olbermann could’ve written that post a year ago, and filed it away under “Inevitable Marlins Fire Sale”.

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    • Paul says:

      For some reason, I actually expected the Marlins to keep what they had and re-invest some of the money from their in-season trades this winter. Clearly, I’m insane.

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  3. Random thoughts:

    A real baseball team with a real owner in Miami might actually do OK. Had Magic Johnson bought the Marlins instead of the Dodgers, people would be elbowing each other out of the way to buy tickets.

    As Olbermann said, baseball might be dead in Florida. Tampa Bay, a good team, was the worst draw in MLB last year and in the bottom third for I don’t know how long. Yes, they have a crappy stadium in a less than accessible area. But, as a city, would you want to invest money in a new stadium and, after the novelty wears off, find out that you’re pretty much back where you started?

    Whomever in Miami was responsible for the sweetheart ballpark deal given Loria should be thrown into jail. After all, there HAS to be a trail of kickbacks in there some place.

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    • The wife kicked me off the computer for a sec. :-)

      And Tampa Bay has a really crappy lease deal, too. Weren’t they tied down to that park for something like 30 years? It’ll likely cost plenty for them to buy their way out of it, maybe more now with the current state of the Marlins–the team with the brand spanking-new park and the worthless ballclub.

      And as for Reyes and Buehrle, at least as the few Marlins’ fans are concened… We hardly knew ye.

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  4. MJ says:

    Anybody think The Commish will step in and put a stop to this? Kuhn might have, but Selig never really did care much about the game–just the money and power. And what good is power if you can’t trade away your obligations so as to make more money? I do think Loria ought to be banned from baseball–on general principles–but I’m guessing he’s only in this for the very quick flip anyway; he’ll be selling the Marlins (probably to some Oklahoma group) for a very big profit within the year. Let’s face it, there has never been a worse Commissioner in any sport than Bud Selig.

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    • MJ,

      For almost as long as there’s been professional baseball and organized leagues, there are teams who went years without coming close to winning. Sometimes they’d threaten a bit, but rare was the time they finished first. The Browns, Red Sox, Braves, Phillies, Senators all went years when they were league doormats.

      The difference between now and then is that anyone with money can buy a team now and, when a team deliberately tanks, it’s more blatantly obvious when, years ago, the difference in payroll was more subtle.

      And then there are the A’s. :-)

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    • Paul says:

      Whatever good things Bud Selig might have accomplished during his tenure as commissioner are outweighed by his role in facilitating Jeffrey Loria’s attempts to destroy Montreal and Miami as viable Major League Baseball markets.

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      • Paul,

        This is in reply to your “incentive” post.

        Actually, to an extent, there was an incentive to field a bad team on purpose.

        I forgot who the attribution went to, but the object for some owners was to give the impression that they cared–to make their team finish in the first division (hey, there’s a phrase that’s gone by the boards!) and maybe threaten the leaders–maybe even win one once in a great while. Whoever said it noted that (and not a direct quote), ‘If we win, the fans are going to expect it every year.’

        Given attendance counts and payrolls, for some of the owners, it was actually easier and cheaper to threaten once in a while with a smaller payroll than it was to win with a bigger one.

        And, as far as Selig, he’s done one thing very well–he made sure the owners were bathing in money. In my mind, he hasn’t done squat for the rank and file fans, only the ones with lots of money.

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  5. Freddy says:

    I know a great promotion for minor league teams nationwide- Can we outdraw the Marlins Day. The Marlins can counter with count the fans in the seats day.

    MLB SHOULD HAVE NEVER EXPANDED TO FLORIDA IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    Florida is good for minors and spring training- that’s it.

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  6. Will in Central NJ says:

    I’ve always had a strong dislike for the Marlins ever since they had the nerve to finish ahead of the Mets in their inaugural season of 1993. My jaw hangs loosely as I watch this spectacle take place today: the Marlins having a firesale yet again. What happened in Montreal is happening now in Miami.

    Any Marlin fan (all 200 of them) will ask the rhetorical question: what kind of team history, narrative or tradition is being written here? Do I wanna follow this kind of circus that has no regard for fan loyalty and stomps all over my fanhood every few years? I wouldn’t blame their fanbase for boycotting the Fish Tank until further notice, until Loria and Co. sell the team, or are forced out by Selig. I wouldn’t hold my breath on the second option.

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