Nationals Arm Race

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Loria a disgrace to the Game


Jeffrey Loria, the biggest con-man in Miami. Photo unknown via

A couple of months ago, I posted an entry titled “Is Jeffrey Loria the worst owner in sports?” after a series of off-season gaffes came to light.  Perhaps that title was prone to hyperbole, as the comment section talked about other awful owners in professional sports.  However, I’m bringing up the topic again.

The previous post was written before Heath Bell was shipped off to Arizona, before Ozzie Guillen was officially fired, and (the reason for this re-hashing of the topic) before the absolutely ridiculous fire-sale trade announced yesterday evening, where the Marlins shipped off the rest of 2011’s off-season acquisitions (Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle), along with their best starting pitcher (Josh Johnson), their starting catcher (John Buck) and a valuable utility player in former Nat Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for a quartet of malcontents and decent-at-best prospects.  Oh, just for good measure the Marlins kicked in $4M dollars of (likely) revenue sharing money to boot.

I completely agree with the initial reactions from national baseball writers Bob Nightengale (who called the team a “Ponzi Scheme“), Ken Rosenthal (who says Loria should “just sell the team“), Buster Olney (who calls the Marlins the “Ultimate con“), from Scott Miller (saying that Loria “must be stopped“), from Keith Law (who called the deal a “boondoggle“) and from Jeff Passan (who calls this “a Baseball Tragedy“).  Passan’s article in-particular is worth a read, as it details all the shameful behaviors of Loria and his son-in-law, napoleonistic team president David Samson, in gory details.  You’ll feel the heat of anger just reading each new incident that these two con artists have perpetrated over the years.

Most infuriating to me is that this represents just the latest profiteering injustice that Bud Selig has empowered Loria to commit.  Going back to his days with the Expos (who he left in shambles and which directly led to our first years of franchise incompetence), continuing through to the criminal negotiations resulting in a mostly-publicly funded stadium, now resulting in this dismantling (which leaves the team with roughly $20M in committed 2013 payroll).  The shame is that Loria will pocket MILLIONS and millions more dollars by shedding all these ill-thought contracts.  How is that fair to the baseball fans in Miami, or the taxpayers in Florida, or the players that remain on that team (see Giancarlo Stanton‘s tweet for his opinion of the move), or to the other owners, or to the players union in general?

Selig should absolutely veto this trade in the “Best interests of Baseball” clause, and should force Loria to sell.  The reaction and upheaval from the national media is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed reading and folling the sport.  Enough is enough.  I realize that these moves only benefit us as Nationals fans (since the Miami team is now likely to lose nearly 110 games, ala the 2012 Houston Astros), but my sense of fair play and businessmen obtaining ill-gotten profits spurs me to write this post today.

13 Responses to 'Loria a disgrace to the Game'

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  1. Agreed, the guy is a complete and utter scumbag. Sorry for the language, just doesn’t seem possible to comment on this without it.

    I don’t actually hate the trade as much as you from a pure baseball perspective, but to convince the community to give you a new stadium and then directionally head down a multi year, 100 loss trajectory is fraud.


    14 Nov 12 at 11:32 am

  2. I didn’t really look closely at the players coming to Miami honestly. I didn’t have to, considering the names that I did recognize were already known castoffs and backups. But here’s a closer analysis: Marlins traded away; An Ace pitcher (even if he’s coming off injury), an all-star shortstop, a reliable #3 starter, a starting catcher and a utility guy who can slot into middle infield or outfield. They got back:
    – a barely adequate offensive shortstop in Escobar whose departure from Atlanta was applauded by teammates who were sick of his presence in the clubhouse.
    – a backup quality shortstop in Hechavarria
    – a starter with a 4.85 ERA last year in Alvarez (though he’s young, and it was the AL east)
    – a pretty good lefty starter prospect in Nicolino
    – the Jay’s #1 prospect in Marisneck
    – A backup catcher in Mathis
    – a low-A arm just “ok” arm in DeScalfini.

    So, maching up like for like, the Marlins swap:
    – an Ace for a 4.85 ERA starter
    – A #3 lefty starter for … a good lefty starting prospect.
    – an all star SS for a malcontent SS
    – a valuable utility guy for a less talented backup middle infielder
    – a starting catcher for a backup catcher
    – and get thrown in the Jays #1 prospect and a low-A arm. But it costs them $4M more! Which is essentially the price of one of these two guys even up.

    Yes, I get this was a salary dump. And for a massive salary dump (as we saw with the LA Dodger’s move with Boston) you don’t always get the best prospects. But this just reeks to me. I see two good prospects, one other MLB starter, and a bunch of spare parts. But this is just such an abomination of a trade when looking at the players that its just appalling.

    Todd Boss

    14 Nov 12 at 11:45 am

  3. People should have seen this coming with the nature of Buerhle and Reyes’ contracts. Buerhle made only $6 million last season of a $58 million deal. Reyes only made $10 million of his $106 million dollar deal. For them to be THAT back loaded and not include no-trade protection was a sign.

    Sure the Marlins could have been competetive last season and afforded to keep Buerhle and Reyes for another season because once again the structure of the contracts don’t get bad until 2014. This was obviously set up in a way they could weasel out of the big payroll. Buerhle makes $18 and $19 million respectively in 2014 and 2015 and Reyes makes $22 million a year for 3 seasons at the end of his deal.

    Loria and his organization are a joke. What is the point of trading for young talent to “rebuild” around when you anger your most talented, cost controlled star in Stanton. No free agent will sign a long term deal with them again and no young player will want to sign an extension because the contracts are flat out worthless.

    From a baseball perspective though I can understand the moves if there Loria was not involved. They got a young starter with major league experience in Alvarez who has the ceiling of a #3 starter, more likely a #4, 3 of the Jays top 10 prospects (Nicholino, Marisnick and Hechevarria) and relieved a ton of payroll space. Hechevarria is a PLUS PLUS defender without much of a bat but the bat could still develop enough to make him a regular up the middle. Nicholino is a similar projection to Alvarez as a #3 or 4 starter but he is young and left handed so that is worth a shot. Marisnick from what I have read was touted as the best athlete in the Jays system and should be able to stick in CF while developing moderate power (10-12 homers) and using his above average speed to swipe 20-30 bases a year. The other pitcher, forgot his name, probably profiles as a reliever.

    I think their haul is similar to what the Red Sox got from the Dodgers although I like the fact that the position players project up the middle instead of a corner spot like Sands (who is probably a AAAA guy anyways). Alvarez and Nicholino compare similarly to Webster and De la Rosa.

    Sorry for the long windedness. Slow day today haha.


    14 Nov 12 at 1:01 pm

  4. PDowdy – that is what I meant about not hating it from a baseball view. None of the traded players came without some kind of age or injury baggage, all seem fairly priced contract wise (no great bargains) and they aren’t likely to be still be good when the Marlins are contenders again, so trading them isn’t crazy. I am not a big prospects guy, so don’t know them too well, but if this was done by a quality ownership group, the reaction would probably be similar to how people lauded Boston. Clear the decks, get some young guys and reapply the money saved for new talent.

    But enter Loria: he’s keeping the money, and laughing at everyone around him. Total scum. Passan at Yahoo wrote a nice piece on him.


    14 Nov 12 at 1:43 pm

  5. Passan’s piece is great, as is Jonah Keri’s on

    I perhaps am letting Loria’s involvement color my viewpoint of the move. How different is this trade really from the Red Sox-Dodgers trade. As you said, in both cases one team dumping a huge amount of payroll and some questionable contracts on another and receiving basically prospects and decent but not comparable players back.

    Todd Boss

    14 Nov 12 at 2:22 pm

  6. On the contrary, I don’t think you guys are letting Loria’s involvement color your opinions at all. You’re just leaving out the most damning detail: Loria utterly fleeced the taxpayers of Miami with that terrible stadium deal, then he completely violated the public trust by selling the entire team less than one year after promising it was a new day for the Marlins and assuring people the team would compete for years. The fact that Loria was the culprit doesn’t make the action any worse, it just makes the action predictable because he’s done it before.


    14 Nov 12 at 4:30 pm

  7. Wally, your last sentence about reapplying the money to new players is the huge difference between Boston and Miami. Boston WILL spend and Loria will profit instead. He is scum. Obviously the order came from him to cut the payroll back again.

    Is there any possibility of Reyes or Buerhle trying to draft a civil suit against the Marlins for “damages”. Both players stand to lose a ton of money because of this trade with the major differences in the tax rates in the 2 areas.


    14 Nov 12 at 4:43 pm

  8. PDowdy – seems unlikely. They voluntarily agreed to sign without no trade protection, so I think they’ll be held to the strict benefit of their bargain. They had lawyers and agents helping them, so they knew the risk even if they didn’t believe it would happen.

    This could possibly aid the SEC fraud investigation (if it is still ongoing). They caused a lot of money to be raised and if they promised that they would spend more if a stadium was built, there may be some recourse there. Also, MLBPA might have a complaint that not enough $$ are being spent on players (I think that is in the CBA) and perhaps other owners can refuse to allow them to receive revenue sharing. Still seems like a stretch.


    14 Nov 12 at 4:51 pm

  9. Todd, you are right. Jonah Kerri’s piece on it is fantastic.


    14 Nov 12 at 5:00 pm

  10. I would LOVE to see the SEC/fraud investigations surrounding the financing of the Miami stadium come to fruition. Not sure they will, but the disclosure of the profiteering they were taking while telling a different story to the politicians seems like it may indicate some criminal intent.

    Todd Boss

    15 Nov 12 at 8:39 am

  11. Here’s the one remaining pundit whose opinion I was waiting to hear: Dan Le Batard.

    Todd Boss

    15 Nov 12 at 11:04 am

  12. I agree with everything you wrote, Todd. I would only add that it’s surprising that anyone is surprised. Given Loria’s history, the way that the contracts were back-loaded and did not contain no-trade clauses, his intentions could not have been clearer. His off-season signings had “pump and dump” written all over them.

    Will Selig veto the deal? I doubt it given his complicity in the whole Loria sham. Loria wouldn’t own the Marlins if it wasn’t for the beyond-sweetheart deal Selig arranged.


    15 Nov 12 at 4:44 pm

  13. Agree; we all should have looked at the structure of those deals (backloaded) and the distinct lack of no-trade clauses and seen this coming. I’m just shocked it happened so soon. Talk about a repuditation of your baseball activities of 2011; a last place team and the shipping out of every free agent. How does the GM still have a job? Oh, yeah that’s right, the GM is a puppet to Loria/Samson, and blood is thicker than water.

    Todd Boss

    16 Nov 12 at 9:27 am

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