Posted by Brad @ 1:00 am on November 14th 2012

Miami – Toronto

SS Jose Reyes
RHP Josh Johnson
LHP Mark Buehrle
INF Emilio Bonifacio
C John Buck

SS Yunel Escobar
INF Adeiny Hechavarria
RHP Henderson Alvarez
C Jeff Mathis
LHP Justin Nicolino
OF Jake Marisnick
RHP Anthony DeSclafani

Still needs to be approved, by my goodness.

So, yes, Jeffrey Loria is the biggest scumbag owner in sports. I think that’s settled for the year. And man does this suck for baseball fans in Miami (and taxpayers).

There will be lots of analysis in the coming weeks about the deal, and about how the pure baseball of it you can twist yourself a bit to make some kind of rationalization on behalf of the Marlins. But that only works if you have ownership committed to sticking with a long term rebuilding plan, or if they raped a farm system of all its best prospects. Being a Toronto fan, I’ve been watching all these new Marlins for some time (I watch about 100 Jays games a year and that’s obviously not counting reading blogs), and while there is not a bad one in the bunch (save Mathis), the only ones that could ever project to be impact guys are Nicolino and Marisnick – and both are far, far from certain, and at least three years off regardless. This is not a bad enough deal to get nixed by MLB – it is not suicidal, and like I said you could make a case. But it certainly does destroy baseball in Miami for a decade from a fan perspective.

For my Jays – holy christ. Looks, they took on a lot of payroll, and there are certainly still question marks with every single impact or potential impact guy on the team. But assuming a regression to the mean (both up and down) for both the players in Toronto and the players coming over from Miami, coupled with the fact that they could not get LESS lucky than last year, this is a team that should have jumped 15 wins in an evening. AND ownership (Rogers Communications, the only media company to own a baseball team and the largest media company in Canada) just put their money where their mouth is in regards to expanding payroll to compete now, which is exciting in its own right, nevermind the pieces coming over. I can’t think of a trade that transformed both franchises (for good and ill) in one fell swoop as much as this one.

In any case, Jeff Loria should probably go to jail even if they have to invent a law to book him on, and Alex Anthopoulos really does deserve to be considered the best young GM in baseball.


  1. Glad I have you to explain this, now I have another reason to hate the Marlins owners other than the stadium taxpayer conjob.

    Comment by Jack — 11/14/2012 @ 10:55 am

  2. Just pulsed two three big Marlin fans in the office. They all seem to have a mixture of despondancy and ennui. They have been here before.

    Comment by Jack — 11/14/2012 @ 10:58 am

  3. Well, I was an Expos fan too (you sort of have to become one growing up a Toronto fan), and the parallel to what he did there – swoop in, decimate to justify a sale, salt the earth for all baseball in the city for a generation or more, skip town with big bags marked $ and flaming wreckage behind him – is disturbing.

    I mean it when I say you could totally justify this trade from the same perspective you could the Boston-LA trade. If ownership were realizing they weren’t going to win with their corps of expensive veterans, at some point it makes total sense to pull the trigger, clear the books, and start over – putting in the hard work of 3-4 years of rebuilding.

    But here is what it looks like in this case.

    Loria comes in, and wines and dines Miami and MLB on him being the guy to bring real baseball to Miami, to explode a new market, to create a new hub of southeast United States baseball, and to make a big market club our of a historically small market team. All he needs is a shiny new stadium, and his commitment to winning will do the rest.

    A critical part of his ability to do that was to suddenly balloon payroll, bring in some of the nation’s marquee free agents, and prove that commitment. On the basis of that, he finally gets MLB and Miami to pull the trigger and essentially buy him a stadium. He explodes payroll by $100 million, fills the new park with stars, and essentially says “See?! Baseball!” Promising a contending team for years to come.

    Then, a grand total of six months later, he pulls the rug out, sells all those stars, clears his entire payroll, and can sell the franchise at a massive, massive profit. Profit because MLB underwrote his purchase of the club, Miami paid for its biggest material asset (stadium), his massively ballooned payroll is suddenly handed off to another club, and as the Dodgers sale indicated there are plenty of ownership groups willing to speculate on franchises based on the promise of future exploding TV revenues. So Loria is in it for basically nothing, got everybody else to build his assets, briefly put in some money to make it look real, and then deflates the entire thing to make it easy to sell and gets the hell out of dodge with bags of money and stacks of pure profit based on other people’s investments in his charade.

    I mean, this is really on the level of traveling snake oil salesmen stuff. And the crappy thing is, as obvious a con as it is, having thrown in with him, there is not a helluva lot Bud Selig or the city of Miami can do. It’s looking for all the world like they just done got took here, and Loria can waltz on out scott free, the only downside being in his career as an owner he’s nearly single-handedly ruined baseball, maybe forever, in half of Canada and all of Florida (this is going to F the Rays too).

    You’ll still have a franchise here, and if you do get an ownership group who is willing to put in the time and hard work to build a club from the ground up this could be a damn decent market and franchise in a decade. But man. Even derivatives traders have to be looking at this one and thinking “Geez, the balls on this guy”.

    Comment by Brad — 11/14/2012 @ 1:25 pm

  4. If there were anything resembling integrity among baseball owners, Loria would be forced to sell through the same leveraging tactics that were employed against Frank McCourt last year. If a Miami taxpayer were to shoot Loria dead in the street, I would pay $100 towards the murderer’s legal defense.

    This seems an opportune time to remind taxpayers of something they never should have to be told but nonetheless apparently need to be, to wit: NEVER EVER AGREE TO PUBLIC FINANCING OF A SPORTS STADIUM. NOT EVER. I would think that owners would realize that Loria’s behavior has made this con a great deal more difficult for the rest of them in the future, and that they would force him to divest for that reason alone.

    And we’re now at a point where we seriously have to consider establishing two tiers for Major League Baseball with promotion/relegation, because the large market teams are just not playing the same game as the rest of them anymore.

    Comment by Rojas — 11/14/2012 @ 1:54 pm

  5. Two tier system is a terrible idea – makes it a completely different sport and would only work to reach critical mass on the small / large market disparity. You wouldn’t be fighting disparity, you’d be setting it in stone and codifying it into law. So many casual fans would drift towards the top tier (not to mention all coaching and free agent talent), and the cratering of any and all support for the small market clubs, in terms of attendance, merchandise, TV, free agents, everything, would quickly drop them off the face of the earth. You’d essentially be asking for a contraction to 12 clubs, and a rejiggered minor league system (with a AAAA). I can think of few moves that would be worse for the sport.

    There are steps that MLB can take to address the disparity, and maybe a two tier system makes sense for revenue sharing or TV (a “second teir team TV network”, say, as large market teams have to support their own). But honestly, I think ownership has as much to do with it as market size. Owning a baseball franchise is not a bad deal and is only getting better, honestly, but how owners approach it is critical. The Jays, for instance, have one of the richest owners in the game and are technically a large market team, but have been invested in like a medium-market club (that appears to finally have changed perhaps yesterday). Then you have owners like the Pirates and Royals who are perfectly content turning a modest profit, collect revenue sharing, and leaving it at that. And of course none of them will be the Yankees, but ownership willing to invest in putting a quality product on the field can be had for any market size – the list of small market, competitive clubs is about the same size as the list of large market losers.

    Anyway, I say move the Rays and As, expand to 32 teams (would love to see Puerta Rico and Montreal redux), and start exploring creative and perhaps handcuffing options for revenue sharing.

    Comment by Brad — 11/14/2012 @ 4:28 pm

  6. Oh, and Miami:

    Comment by Brad — 11/14/2012 @ 4:29 pm

  7. This is a good article on the matter. Essentially, Loria has done nothing illegal or even against the rules. That is Miami’s fault for not negotiating better, and MLB’s fault for not putting “unwritten rules” or assumptions (like, owners need to put the team first) in writing.

    And really, Rojas has it right. Loria represents the far, far end of the spectrum, in that he for all the world appears to have ACTIVELY tried to fleece Miami. But even in cases where owners have the best of intentions and try like hell to win, it is still a terrible municipal and state investment – and with franchise values already starting to skyrocket, most cities are essentially just staking very rich people so they can get very richer at no cost or risk to themselves.

    Comment by Brad — 11/14/2012 @ 9:27 pm

  8. Also, I would just like to hyperlink this for no particular reason.

    Comment by Brad — 11/16/2012 @ 7:00 pm

  9. …and now the Royals make a very Royals-like move in trading away some great prospects for some good starting pitching. Dayton Moore must think his team is closer to contending than, well, most other people think.

    On the AL East side, this annoys me and excites me at the same time. It probably knocks off 5 wins from the Rays next year, which is great as that’s the year the Blue Jays need and it for all the world is looking like a division of four 85-win teams. But, as usual, the Rays have somehow managed to secure incredibly cheap, young, solid-or-better and long-term locked up players who will wind up making an impact and starting for them for years, for peanuts.

    Comment by Brad — 12/10/2012 @ 9:57 am

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