Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Miami Marlins Hit The Ctrl-Alt-Del Button....Again

The electronic baseball world has been abuzz tonight with the rumors of a mega-trade/mega salary dump between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays.  The final trade may not be confirmed until Wednesday, but the particulars of the trade seem to be as follows, with the 2013 salaries in parentheses:

Toronto gets -- Jose Reyes ($10M in 2013, $96M guaranteed remaining thru 2018), Mark Buerhle ($11M, $48M remaining thru 2015), Josh Johnson ($13.75M), Emilio Bonifacio ($2.5M estimate thru arbitration), and John Buck ($6M)

Miami gets -- Yunel Escobar ($5M in 2013, two club options thru 2015), Adeiny Hechavaria ($1.75M), Henderson Alvarez ($500K pre-arb), Jeff Mathis ($1.5M), Jake Marisnick (in AA in 2013), Justin Nicolino (in High A in 2013), and Anthony DeSclafani (in High A in 2013)

Where to begin....

Miami offloaded $43.25M of 2013 salaries and a total of $166.25M of future total salary commitments in exchange for a slew of younger players totaling $8.75M of 2013 salaries.  That's lopping of $34.5M of salary in 2013 and allowing them to now totally erase their 2011 offseason free agency binge (the Marlins traded another signee, Heath Bell, to the Diamondbacks last month).

Last year's offseason spree/binge that brought Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buerhle to South Florida, under the pretense that these players would help usher in a new era of Marlin success in a new ballpark, has now been eradicated.  Furthermore, those moves were made to justify the taxpayer-funded new ballpark constructed for the Marlins that opened JUST THIS YEAR.  Jeffrey Loria, the same man that ran the Expos into the ground and then sold them to MLB in exchange for the ability to purchase the Marlins, has completely defrauded the general populace of Miami.

But does anyone in South Florida care?  Are there really loyal Marlins fans at this point?  The term "fire sale" is pretty synonymous with the Miami (Florida) Marlins franchise dating back to the mid-90's when they bought a slew of free agents and won a title with Jim Leyland at the helm in 1997.  They burned that team to the ground and did so again in 2005 after winning the World Series in 2003.

It really is tough to be a Pirates fan at some points, like August and September of 2012 for example, but it must be nigh-impossible to be a Marlins fan.  At this point, how can any fan trust anything said as a commitment by this owner?  Just as importantly, how can any free agent agree to sign a multi-year deal with the Marlins at this point?

It has been said that the Pirates have problems attracting quality free agents due to perceptions about the competence of the front office and competitiveness, but that has to pale in comparison to the feeling on the street about the Marlins.  Imagine what the national and local media would say about the Pirates if they pulled a series of maneuvers such as getting taxpayer funding, making a massive multi-year investment in free agents, then selling those same free agents off after just one year (while also dealing another franchise cornerstone like Hanley Ramirez in-season).  It's just unbelievable that anyone would support the Marlins in 2013.

It's also equally unbelievable that Major League Baseball allows Jeffrey Loria to own a baseball franchise.


  1. Yeah, they build it up and they burn it back down....but they've got two more WS titles in the past twenty years than Pittsburgh does. :)

    Not saying I'm espousing that as a business model, just pointing it out.

    As a FL resident, I can honestly say I don't know a single person that has ever said they are a fan of the Marlins. Granted, I don't live in Miami....but my market has no team, and a general disdain for all things Tampa from the local populace. You'd think there would be SOME Marlin fans. There really aren't.

    I doubt many folks in Dade County even noticed what happened.

    Loria still has a team because he's buddies with Bud Selig. That's pretty much the only reason.

  2. That question has been posed quite a bit on different pages -- If you could guarantee your team would win 2 WS but then be torn down mercilessly after each one, would you take it?

    I wouldn't. Part of the fun for a fan for seeing your team win is to feel some sort of connection to them, both when they do it and then reflecting on it later. If your team is a bunch of mercenaries thrown together for 1 year or then immediately traded, it would seem too temporary and forced.

    I would rather have a consistent team in the mid-80's for wins that occasionally brought in a key guy or two to get them to the playoffs. I always value consistentcy more than peaks/valleys.

  3. Meh. Pennants fly forever. I may have agreed with you 15 years ago. Now? I don't know if I'm ever going to see another winning Pirates' team in my lifetime at this rate, so I'll take the championships.

    Especially when you take into account that the Marlins won two within six or seven years, not 20.

    Being .500ish every season just means you're one of the 'best losers.' It's mental masturbation. You've still lost. Does anyone remember any of the 80's KC Chief teams? The answer is no, no they do not.

    Sticking with KC....ask the Schottemheimer era Chiefs(or, hell, any Schottemheimer team really) how always being "just a few games short" feels. They actually improved over the 80's teams and were a playoff contender for about 10 years....and never won anything. Yes, I realize football is a completely different animal, but the point remains that same. The 90's Chiefs, seemingly, decided that going 10-6 every year and getting bounced from the playoffs was good enough. The one and only year that they sniffed a SB was...surprise, surprise...when they brought in a couple of mercenaries at the end of their careers. They have not won a post season game since.

    With the way salaries/TV money is fixing to explode in MLB, the Pirates opportunities to even have a winning season are probably about to start seeing the needle take a dive towards "E", let alone have a shot at a championship. If you were to tell me today that they could spend like drunken sailors for a year or two, get a championship, then have to blow it up and start over in an effort to do the same thing 4-5 years down the road I think I would take it.

  4. If the Pirates were to bring in some mercs, but win it with McCutchen/Walker/Alvarez AND keep all of them, but cut loose some of the other chaff...I would be fine with that.

    But does anyone have any fond memories of the 97 Marlins or really even the 2003 Marlins?

    I would love to see the Pirates back load a FA contract this offseason to account for the extra $23M they'll get in 2014 with the new TV deal. Imagine a 5 year-$60M offer to Anibal Sanchez that is $8M in 2013 and $13M the other 4 years. Just an example.

  5. "But does anyone have any fond memories of the 97 Marlins or really even the 2003 Marlins?"

    Does anyone have any fond memories of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1992-2012? :)

    In regard to the question; I'm not a Marlins fan, so I don't know. Were I one I'd guess that I'd probably be pretty happy about the championships. There were some good players on those teams that I'm sure were entertaining to watch. Brown, Sheff, Renteria, Alou, et al in '97. Lee, Lowell, Castillo, Pudge, Pierre, Miggy as a rookie, Dontrelle as a rookie, et al in '03.

    I don't have that many fond memories of the Pirates since 1992 anyway, so I'd rather have the rings and the requisite implosion afterward at this stage.

    As for winning it with mercs/the three you mentioned....Alvarez is gone the moment he is able. He's a Boras client. You can etch that in stone with the blood of infants. So that's one guy that's going to be elsewhere whether they win or they don't. Don't have to worry about Andrew for a while. I'm still not that enamoured with Walker, though I admit it's probably "personal" what with all the Mexican War Baseball Academy BS from years past. Certainly would rather he be kept, but if they brought in some legit FAs and won a title in the next couple years, but had to part ways with Walker because of it in, say, 2014? I'd be okay with it.