Owner Loria should just sell Marlins
Fear not, I’ve found the Marlins’ silver lining.
It will be clear to everyone if this is the first step in Jeffrey Loria’s exit strategy, the first step toward him selling the team.
I know how the Marlins will spin their 12-player blockbuster with the Blue Jays — they’re getting big prospects, huge salary relief, a chance to start over. Again.
Not good enough.
Not this time.
This deal, even if it works out for the Marlins, is a violation of the public trust.
I’d say that commissioner Bud Selig should invoke his “best interest of baseball” powers to nullify the blockbuster. But frankly, the best interests of baseball would be better served if the deal led to Loria’s demise.
I want to know how Loria can face the people of South Florida, the taxpayers who subsidized 70 percent of his $515 million ballpark in Miami.
I want to know how he will market his team to free agents after trading three that he signed for a combined $191 million only a year ago.
I want to know what he will tell star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who tweeted after learning of the trade, “Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple.”
Stanton should be pissed off. His teammates should be pissed off. And Major League Baseball should be pissed off, too.
The Marlins are going back to their old model. They’ll collect revenue-sharing money, national-TV money and other financial goodies from baseball, all while operating with a minuscule payroll.
And you thought Ozzie Guillen was an embarrassment. This is worse, much worse — even if the trade turns out OK from a baseball perspective, which it very well might.
The Marlins reportedly are clearing all but $4 million of the approximately $165 million-plus owed to shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle, right-hander Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
They’re getting four of the Blue Jays’ top prospects — shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, outfielder Jake Marisnick, left-hander Justin Nicolino and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani — plus shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez and catcher Jeff Mathis.
Bonifacio, who can play center field or second base, actually may have the fewest warts of the new Jays. He certainly is the least expensive. Remember, the Marlins back-loaded the free-agent contracts of Reyes, Buehrle and closer Heath Bell, whom they recently traded to the Diamondbacks.
And baseball, you ask?
Reyes and Johnson are physical risks. Buehrle turns 34 in March. Buck batted .192 last season. No doubt, Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is fretting that he gave up too much and got too little, even though the initial perception will be that he won the deal.
Again, it’s all just details. The big picture is what matters. And in the big picture, the Marlins finally have gone too far.
This is their third major salary dump under two different owners. Enough is enough.
Loria needs to answer to his fans who bought season tickets, to the South Florida politicians who helped him secure ballpark financing, to his fellow baseball owners who should assail him for wrecking the Miami market.
Actually, better he should say nothing.
Better he just sell.