Marlins-Blue Jays Blockbuster Proves Disastrous for Miami

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Marlins Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton expresses his anger via Twitter.

In a deal that clearly favors Toronto in the future, the Miami Marlins continued dismantling their 2011 free agent spending spree, trading Jose Reyes, pitchers Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle as well as catcher John Buck and center fielder Emilio Bonifacio.  In exchange, the Marlins will be receiving shortstops Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria,  Toronto’s no.5 prospect LHP Justin Nicolino, center fielder Jacob Marisnick, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Henderson Alvarez, and catcher Jeff Mathis.

With a lineup featuring a 1-4 order of shortstop Jose Reyes, third baseman Brett Lawrie, outfielder Jose Bautista and designated-hitter Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto figures to factor greatly in the American League East next year, with the aforementioned four all being under contract until 2016.  A rotation featuring a healthy Mark Buerhle, Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow and resurgent Ricky Romero with J.A. Happ and the promising Kyle Drabek recovering from Tommy John surgery also figures to give the rest of the American League fits. Featuring a payroll of $75 million in 2012, that number is projected to exceed $11o million 2013 and beyond.

On the Miami side, it is apparent the Marlins are back to their salary-dumping ways; Josh Johnson is owed $13.75 million in 2013, Jose Reyes is owed $96 million through 2017, Emilio Bonifacio is arbitration eligible.  With a 2012 Opening Day payroll of roughly $100 million, the Marlins payroll now stands at $16 million, pre-arbitration.  Back in July, the Marlins also traded away $37 million with Hanley Ramirez going to the Dodgers and pitcher Anibal Sanchez and middle infielder Omar Infante going to the Tigers.  Former Miami closer Heath Bell was also traded to Arizona, as well as the remaining 3 years and $27 million on his contract.  Recently hired Marlins manager Mike Redmond features to have a familiarity with the players Miami received, as Redmond managed in Toronto’s minor league system.  What began last year as a new era in Marlins history is now no more.

However, the rapid deconstruction was there from the start.  The colorful and controversial new Marlins Park was brought to the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, due to Miami Marlins’ President Dave Samson and Jeffrey Loria essentially crying poor and funding their stadium on $500 million sold on public bonds.  The city of Miami was fiscally responsible for 80% of the $634 million stadium, according to this piece by the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204826704577077230342369436.html?KEYWORDS=deadspin).

Promising Marlins fans a new era of baseball with their free agent spending spree of 2011 wasn’t enough, however.  On Opening Day, Jeffrey Loria felt it necessary to trot out Miami legend Muhammad Ali, who, at 70 years old, has been physically ravaged by Parkinson’s, and was awkwardly brought out to the Miami crowd, who didn’t know whether to cheer or not.

Muhammad Ali, left, age 70, with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, right. Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America

Perhaps playing–really, paying–their ways into Showtime’s demands, it was announced The Franchise would be shadowing the Marlins around for 2012, like they did with the San Francisco Giants in 2011.  The Franchise is essentially Showtime’s answer to HBO’s 24/7 series, offering a look into a team that otherwise isn’t seen to the public eye whether it be inside the locker room, at a player’s or coach’s residence, etc.  The Marlins were so bad that Showtime and The Franchise actually cancelled their look into the Marlins after a meager seven episodes.

Last, there’s the attendance issue. In a ballpark that was funded mostly by the public, you’d think they’d care and find ways to the stadium they helped construct.  Featuring a capacity of 37,442,  Marlins Ballpark averaged 10,000 less per game, at 27,400; 200,000 less than any other ballpark in its first season.

The Marlins only managed to win 69 games, which was last in the National League East, despite the added talent.  Now, the question becomes, how many games are they expected to win next year?   Maybe 65? The Marlins 2013 Opening Day starter? Probably Jacob Turner, 22, still unproven and owner of a 4.42 ERA.

“Watching Giancarlo Stanton in BP , I HAVE to buy season tickets to a stadium I funded!”– said no one ever.

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2 Responses to Marlins-Blue Jays Blockbuster Proves Disastrous for Miami

  1. JoeyM says:

    It almost seems like they are playing a big joke on their fans lol

  2. Pingback: Sizing Up the National League East « Front Office Sports

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