I think in my next life my job title will be “really good buddy of Bud Selig.” That way I can be assured of running one baseball franchise into the ground (Expos), then having a baseball franchise gift-wrapped for me (Marlins), get to do all sorts of unethical and a-moral things like blatantly deceive politicians to rob taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars (to build their new stadium) while continuing to massively profit from my venture (as we discovered when the books of the Marlins were leaked).
This is the life of Jeffrey Loria.
But the news doesn’t get much better for the Marlins fans. An off-season of spending to prepare for the opening of the new stadium included three major free agents, none of which really made any sense:
- Jose Reyes, except you already had an all-star short stop in Hanley Ramirez
- Mark Buehrle, a career workhorse with a near .500 record but now being paid like an ace
- Heath Bell, millions of dollars for the most over-rated position on the team (closer).
The team also acquired $19M/year Carlos Zambrano. The Reyes and Buehrle deals were heavily back-loaded, essentially grenades awaiting the team in a few year’s time.
Halfway through the season, Ramirez was traded, Bell ineffective and demoted, replaced by a MLB-minimum salary guy in Steve Cishek, Zambrano buried in the bullpen and Buehrle sitting with a .500 record. The Marlins moved a few other guys (the FA to be Anibel Sanchez, the disappointing Gaby Sanchez, and Edward Mujica namely) at the July deadline in a clear “white flag waving” move just a few months into their supposed “new phase of Marlins baseball.” The team sits in last place, 22 games under .500 in a season they were supposed to compete.
The news doesn’t get any better for the team or the fans this past week:
- Ozzie Guillen has taken to insulting sports-writers and his owner on twitter and seems certain to get canned.
- The team reportedly is thinking about firing its President and GM.
- Loria has attacked his former manager (and current Braves manager) Fredi Gonzalez in the press for basically saying that Loria can’t get along with ANY manager.
- The team has announced it won’t be spending nearly as much on payroll in 2013 as they did this year.
Wow: great time to be a Marlins fan! And there’s really not much hope rising up from the minors; in the past the Marlins could get by with penny pinching and still field a competitive team on the backs of its excellent player development staff (you know, the same player development staff that fueled the Montreal Expos for years and which he ripped out and brought with him to Florida in 2004). Now the Marlins farm system is considered to be one of the worst in the majors and is relatively devoid of rising talent.
Fun times ahead for Miami. I hope you enjoy that brand new stadium that nobody will be coming to, Mr Loria. Hey, at least the Nats can stop getting killed by Miami year after year head to head (Here’s our record against Florida/Miami over the past few years: 9-9 this year, 7-11 last year, 5-13, 6-12 and an amazing 3-14 in 2008). With the Mets in a long-term rebuilding program and the Marlins cratering, we really only have to worry about two divisional rivals for the foreseeable future.