The Fall Of A Franchise
The Marlins have done this before. They've ripped apart a team, torn it down after having success (well not this time), to save money. They outdid themselves Tuesday night when they agreed to a deal, not yet approved by Major League Baseball, with the Blue Jays. Before I delve into the deal, here are a few of the Twitter responses by people to the deal.
#Marlins insist Grooms sculpture will not be traded for the Hard Rock Café at Rogers Centre. Sculpture is not convinced. - @jonmorosi
#Marlins opened season with a payroll of roughly $100MM. After this trade, non-arb 2013 obligations will be ~ 25MM. Historic salary dump. - @jonmorosi
#Marlins will have no $$ committed to payroll in 2014. At this moment, Dobbs and Nolasco are only players #Marlins are committed to in even 2013. - @Joelsherman1
Remember: The #Marlins do not award no-trade clauses. - @Ken_Rosenthal
Report: #Marlins sending their stadium to #BlueJays as part of the deal. - @BaseballGuys
Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple. - @Giancarlo818
Here's the deal as we currently understand it in what is the most lopsided trade potentially in the history of professional sports.
Blue Jays receive: shortstop Jose Reyes, right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck and utility player Emilio Bonifacio and $4 million.
Marlins receive: shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, Cuban prospect Adeiny Hechavarria, outfield prospect Jake Marisnick, pitching prospects Anthony Desclafani and Justin Nicolino, and catcher Jeff Mathis.
The Blue Jays get an elite shortstop, and when healthy, a borderline elite arm on the hill. Reyes is a top-5 shortstop in terms of offense, and his defense is solid. Johnson is coming off his worst season, but that effort still included a 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.76 K/9 and 2.54 K/BB. Those are still pretty solid numbers. Buehrle, for the 12th straight season, threw at least 200-innings while winning 10 or more games. Buck is a catcher with 20 homer power, though one that is far from stable at the dish given his swing and miss ways. As for Bonifacio, he was on pace to lead baseball in steals last season before he was waylaid by injury. He played 51 games in CF and 15 games at second base, this a year after he also played 36 games at third base and 67 at shortstop. Here's a potential lineup for the Blue Jays.
1 Jose Reyes, SS 2 Emilio Bonifacio, 2B 3 Jose Bautista, RF 4 Edwin Encarnacion, DH 5 Brett Lawrie 3B 6 Adam Lind, 1B 7 Colby Rasmus, CF 8 J.P. Arencebia, C 9 Rajai Davis LF
Looking at that daily lineup, you have to be pretty impressed. Speed, power --- the only thing they really don't have is batting average production. Could be a lot of homers and steals though. Maicer Izturis, who signed a 3-year, $10 million deal, now becomes a very expensive super sub. There's no way around the fact that Toronto has just massively improved their roster. At the same time, two concerns. (1) How will Johnson and Buehrle perform in the AL East? It's not exactly an easy place to pitch. (2) The Blue Jays took on about $165-$170 million in salary in the deal.
The Marlins received Yunel Escobar, a player who needed a change of scenery. He's a middle of the pack major league shortstop. Henderson Alvarez, who I wrote about before the season in this Player Profile, performed exactly like I expected – relatively poorly (9-14, 4.85 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 3.80 K/9). My review of Jeff Mathis? A strong defender behind the dish who might be the worst hitter of his generation.
In terms of on the field product the Marlins were taken about behind the woodshed, hit in the head with a stick, had their wallet stolen, their clothes stripped from their bodies and then were tied up. The offender then took their keys, went to their house, packed up their flat screen TV, their fancy refrigerator and pocketed their jewelry. They then went on line, emptied the victims bank account, and erased their identity. Not finished, they then burned the house down, ran their car into the river and and defecated on what was left of the front lawn. You get the point, right?
BASEBALL IN MIAMI
It's over. If you are a fan of the franchise, I have to think that ended yesterday. How could it go any other direction? In addition to gutting the franchise yet again, the Marlins did a complete 180 degree turn less than a year after they plotted a new direction for their franchise. After signing all those big money deals last offseason (see Angels/Marlins Spending Like Drunken Sailors), don't forget they already traded Heath Bell to the D'backs, they gutted their team on Tuesday. Not only have they weakened their on the field product immensely, they have also turned their nose up at their fans, flipped them off, punched them in the face, and stolen their lunch money. Remember, the Marlins just built, at a cost of nearly $640 million, a stadium of which they only paid $125 million for saddling the public with the remaining cost (the County spent roughly $376 million, which will have to be raised in taxes, while the City of Miami also chipped in $132 million). The Marlins also received an interest free loan of $35 million to help with expenses which they will have to pay back at a rate of $2.3 million a year. I'll just say it – Jeffrey Loria is a crook. Plain and simple. Make sure you read Tim Brown's review of the deal to get a fuller understanding of how the most greedy man in pro sports is running the Miami Marlins.
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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