It shouldn’t be surprising that on Monday, Commissioner Selig approved the blockbuster trade between the Marlins and the Blue Jays (see details on why at the bottom of the article here on Baseball Prospectus). The move by the Marlins, widely panned as it is seen a salary dump after their new ballpark just opened, has taken longer than most to approve. While Selig approved the deal, he did make it clear that he was mindful of how the deal would affect the Miami fan base. It should also be noted that while he was given assurances from the Marlins that they will be committed to a “long-term winning team”, they also had verbal agreements with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Giancarlo Stanton. But, it’s not only the league that paid close attention to the trade. Certainly the MLB Players Association did, as well, even though they did not release a statement on the trade.
The problem is, Jeffrey Loria, David Samson and others in the organization have ostensibly poisoned the well in Miami, and in less than their second season in the new market. That’s because they’ve not exactly been the best stewards of an MLB club during their time in baseball. What’s occurred is lowering future value of the club, but the problem is, there’s really nothing that Selig could have done to stop the deal… other than to never let them own a club in the first place.
Here’s Selig’s statement on the trade:
"Since Tuesday, I have carefully reviewed the proposed transaction between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. I asked our Baseball Operations Department and our Labor Relations Department to compare this proposed transaction with similar deals. I also consulted with experienced baseball operations executives to get their input regarding the talent involved in this transaction.
“After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion. It is, of course, up to the Clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.
“I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park. Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their Club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of.”
After the deal was finalized, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria certainly played up how losing 93 games factored into his thinking, even though the club had been gutting players off the roster prior to the fire sale with the Blue Jays.
“We've finished in last place the past two years, and that is unacceptable to our fans, to us as an organization, and to me,” said Loria. “We want to get back to our winning ways, and we want a winning baseball team for our fans. It's incumbent on us to make the changes necessary to make us a winner again.”
“It may not happen overnight,” he added. “But with the players we acquired in the second half of last season, coupled with the infusion of players we are acquiring now, we will be returning to Marlins Baseball: high energy and hungry.”
“It may not happen overnight.” That ought to go over well with season ticket holders and fans. It’s going to be a long, cold winter for Marlins fans… again.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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