How Jeffrey Loria Proved Miami's New Ballpark Still Houses Same Old Marlins
How did we just fall for that? Any of it? Remember the saying "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me"?
The new team name, ballpark, players, payroll, all of it. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, president David Samson and general manager Michael Hill led the city of Miami to believe if they funded a taxpayer-funded new ballpark that they would hold their end of the bargain and invest in building a team.
A franchise that has not once but twice sold the majority of its key players after winning a World Series. This time around, Marlins fans didn't get the chance to see their team compete for a championship. Instead, the franchise threw in the towel not even 100 games into their first season as the Miami Marlins.
After building up the hype of the new ballpark since its inception, the Marlins tried to prove to the world that they were big time spenders. They threw barrels of money and a 10-year contract at Albert Pujols. They lured Jose Reyes away from the New York Mets by approaching him within the first few minutes of free agency. Jeffrey Loria and the rest of the Marlins brass found it necessary to even give a 34-year-old closer with a diminishing fastball $9 million a year to join the party.
You can make an argument that the Marlins are making quality baseball trades. Hanley Ramirez—even though being named the franchise player numerous times this past offseason—seemed to have his offensive production on a downward spiral for the last two seasons. It was only a matter of time before the Marlins were finally fed up with his antics and would trade him away for prospects.
The team also acquired one of the top pitching prospects in the game in Jacob Turner from the Detroit Tigers. In doing so, they parted ways with SP Anibal Sanchez—who threw the franchise's most recent no-hitter—and 2B Omar Infante who they received in part of the Dan Uggla trade to the Braves.
Quick side note. Now that Infante has been traded away, that leaves zero players the Marlins acquired in trading both Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla away that still remain on the team. Zero.
Either way you look at it, the prospects they received in the Sanchez, Infante and Ramirez trades may or may not pan out. Judging by the team's recent history, there is a good chance they won't.
In an article by Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan shared his thoughts on the Marlins ownership:
Samson said from the start that the Marlins carrying a hefty payroll was contingent on fans showing up. There aren't nearly as many as the team hoped, and with ticket sales often cratering in Year 2 of a new ballpark, the Marlins might've actually – gasp! – threatened to take a loss had they not gone into sell mode.
Surely they'll cry poor either way, considering Samson might as well have claimed insolvency when the Marlins were raking in nearly $50 million in profits the two years before Miami-Dade County approved the funding for the stadium. It's how they do business.
Marlins fans have no idea what is in store for them next. SP Josh Johnson has been rumored to be on the move as well as even 1B Carlos Lee.
Chad Ford of ESPN said in a recent blog:
You would have thought that as part of the Miami rebranding, the Marlins would have endeavored to avoid a massive sell-off of players in the first year in their new ballpark. Now, for some would-be ticket buyers, the offseason roster restructuring will just look like a bottle of snake oil given the franchise's history of fire sales.
Was this whole idea just a public relations move? Did they try and build excitement within their fanbase and capitalize on the new re-branding movement just to become sellers before the team was ever given a fair chance?
Regardless of their intentions, Jeffrey Loria definitely proved that even with this new ballpark, it still houses the "same old" Marlins ways.
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