Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The recent act committed by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to trade away all of the team's star players speaks volumes to his mismanagement and lack of respect for the few remaining Miami fans.
When it happened in 1998, it eventually led to a World Series five years later. In 2012, the Marlins have done it once again. Their recent blockbuster deal with the Toronto Blue Jays has sent three of their highest paid players -- Mark Buerhle, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson -- to the Great North in return for Yunel Escobar and a bunch of prospects.
Never mind that the Marlins will likely take years to regain any sort of reputation with players around Major League Baseball. I mean, what free agent is going to want to sign there at the expense of being traded away a year later? The organization is notorious for not handing out no-trade clauses (which is why Albert Pujols refused to go to South Beach) in the hopes that they can at some point flip them to another team.
Nobody is buying the "we are restarting and building from the ground up" excuse, Mr. Loria. Your team will consist of a bunch of minor league players and may be the worst in the MLB next season. But that isn't the biggest issue, either. There always has to be a team in last place.
The problem is that you have betrayed the trust of the few fans that you had BEFORE you made this big deal. They pay for your new stadium, for your pockets to grow deeper and what do you do? You throw it right back in their face. You promise them a team that will be competitive for the next decade at least in the new ballpark and then you go and trade them all away to save a few bucks. Disgraceful.
And he won't get punished for it. MLB commissioner Bud Selig is not the Roger Goodell or David Stern type -- he doesn't have the guts to do anything drastic. Take away their MLB All-Star game in 2015 as Dave George of the Palm Beach Post suggests? There is no doubting that would hit him pretty hard in the wallet, but that won't deter him from doing it again.
Selig could veto the trade for "baseball reasons", but he likely would not want to face the legal issues that arise with taking such an action. The same goes for taking the team away from Loria. He bought it, it's his. He can do with it what he wants. What we do know is that something needs to happen, something big.
We simply don't see other teams do this. The well run organizations attempt to build their teams by signing key free agents that are worth the big contracts, not drive them away. And what will happen when your farm players get called up and become stars? Will the Marlins ship them out once they are owed what they are due, too?
I won't go as far as many writers have in calling Loria the scourge of the earth. That's a bit much considering the other kinds of people we have in this world. But what I will say is that Loria is bad for baseball. He is alienating his fanbase to save a few dollars. He is making his team less and less competitive, leaving stars like Giancarlo Stanton left to rot away his prime years next to the whirlimajig in the outfield.
Veto the trade, Bud. Sell the team, Loria. Either way, something needs to happen. Something before there are exactly zero Marlins fans left.