The Miami Marlins were at it again, sending most of their good players to the Toronto Blue Jays, in a 12-player blockbuster trade. Yet this was unlike the previous 2 times in 1997 and 2003. In those years, the fire sale occurred after the then Florida Marlins had just won the World Series! At least this time they are getting players in return. After the first “sale” back in ’97, the following season it showed. The Marlins lost 108 games earning them the worst record in baseball. It was better the second time around in ’04 as they finished over .500, good for 3rd place.
The Marlins have agreed to send shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle, right-hander Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto. In return, Miami is to receive shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez and catcher Jeff Mathis in addition to four minor leaguers: outfielder Jake Marisnick, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, left-hander Justin Nicolino and right-hander Anthony DeSciafani. Miami had already sent closer Heath Bell to Arizona a month earlier.
This year is different though. The reason why? There was no World Series trophy won a few weeks ago. The Marlins moved into their brand new $634 million dollar stadium with a payroll that jumped from $57 million to $118 million. They hired a volatile manager in Ozzie Guillen, who in return pissed off the South Florida faithful by saying that “I love Fidel Castro”. The result was many of those in the Cuban and Latino community were upset and picketed in front of the stadium for about a week in protest. They called for Guillen to be fired but that wish did not come true until the end of a very disappointing season which found the fish fried and in last place.
After a week of review, the Commissioner official approved this trade last Tuesday.
“I am aware of the anger (referring to Marlins fans),” Selig said. “I’m also aware that in Toronto, they’re very happy”. Ya think? Tell this to the many Marlins fans in the city of Miami who voted and approved to pay 80% of the cost to have their team in that new $634 million stadium. If the fans in Miami were somewhat disinterested in their team before, what could they possibly think about their team now? I’m sure it is not going to be rushing to the box office to buy season tickets, or any tickets for that matter to watch what will amount to a Triple A team with a lot of “young talent”. This move by the Marlins organization will set them back for years to come. I believe that sometimes you have to take 2 steps back to move 5 forward. Yet in this case, they just stepped back to save a lot of money. They are only on the hook for about $20.5 million worth of player contracts for next year, not including 5 arbitration eligible players. That represents 10% of the payroll the New York Yankees had this past year! A few years ago MLB was actually flirting with the idea of contracting a few teams. The A’s, Twins, and Marlins were on that short list.
Bottom line: Maybe Miami should have volunteered themselves.