Miami Marlins: Defending Jeffrey Loria

Thursday November 22nd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  What the Marlins had to do this offseason is horrible. Last year, the Marlins raised the hopes of the fans with a rejuvenated logo and uniforms, a new stadium, and most of all a new-look team. Last winter, Marlins management made a commitment to the fans to provide a contending team for the years to come. They went out and signed Jose Reyes for seven years. He and Hanley Ramirez were supposed to serve alongside Giancarlo Stanton as the core of the team for almost the next decade. To build on the Reyes signing, the Marlins also inked pitchers Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Ozzie Guillen also jumped aboard and was set up to be a lovable manager. With this spending spree, the Marlins brought a lot of excitement to South Florida and were supposed to be a major contender in the NL East.

Unfortunately this was not the case. The Marlins quickly faltered and Ozzie Guillen was immediately under the spotlight for his comments about Fidel Castro. Fans were already calling for Guillen to be fired. The team’s performance was not helping. I personally attended the second home game at Marlins Park against the Astros. Although it was against the Astros, any team that spends as much money as the Marlins did in the offseason should have a packed house at their second game of the season (in their new stadium!). The stadium was full, but not sold out. I was hoping that this was not a sign of things to come, but it was. The Marlins continued their spiral downward and talks of trades began. Heath Bell was the opposite of what the Marlins signed him to be and lost his job as closer. Both Reyes and Ramirez slumped. The Marlins needed to make some moves.

The first big trade came right before the trade deadline when Hanley Ramirez was moved to the Dodgers for namely Nate Eovaldi. Eovaldi is good enough, but for a superstar type like Hanley Ramirez, a team would expect a little more back if they were trying to build for the future. This Ramirez trade was obviously a salary-dump that the high-spending Dodgers took advantage of. Well, thought Marlins fans, that was bound to happen sometime. Ramirez had slumped in the past and was rumored to be traded a few times before, so this was not a huge surprise. Now this was Reyes’ team. The Marlins continued to slump and wound up in last place in the NL East. What could they possibly do for the next season?

The Marlins started this offseason by shipping Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks. This was the first of the deals. Then, as if the Bell move did not take enough money off the books, the Marlins sent Reyes, Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, Josh Johnson and cash to the Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar and prospects in a deal for the ages. By making this trade, Jeffrey Loria was basically saying, okay, I give up, let’s start fresh.

Now the Marlins are back right where they started—one guy to build around (Stanton) and a little money to spend. They do not have nearly as much money as last time though  because it is likely that fans wont want to come to the games anymore—why would they spend money to see a last-place team? Loria had to blow the team up. With the team he had, there would be no way they would reach the playoffs in the next few years. And, this past year was the year that was supposed to be accompanied by the biggest fan-fare. Instead the Marlins ranked 18th in attendance and finished last. The Marlins could only go down from here. Loria did the right thing, and now he gets to start fresh. In my opinion, the most important thing Loria must do in the next few years is earn back the trust of the fans—after completely letting them down. It could take a lot, and it might mean building the minor league system and home-growing some talent. Fans will undoubtedly second-guess Loria the next time he signs a big-name free agent. Maybe the best thing Loria could do for the Marlins would be to sell the team. Only time will tell.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, Baseball Writer & Facebook Administrator.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***

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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

Posted on November 22, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. There is noway out for what Loria did with Miami Franchise ?What was done is a total disgrace and the team in Miami will have many paybacks for years to come .In my view Baseball is dead in South Florida. Lori a should sell and get out now .The future isnt going be bright with him beingThe owner his track record indicates lack of honesty he shouldn’t Be ownerbof a Baseball team .His actions not only now but throughout the time he has owned the Miami are very questionable at the very best He may have money but his track record indicates he is reckless who would want to play for himor be employee of his In my view there have been many poor owners present and past but he belongs in The hall of Shame and in some way Baseball needs to get him out .He has damaged the Miami Franchise beyond repair .Even with New ownership I my doubts aboutwhetheBaseball will ever work in South Florida.The problem with this whole mess is thst it’s the Fans and the people of South Florida who will suffer from this along with the ballplayers who are left and the employee of the Miami club It’s very clear that Honestly and loyalty is missing in this situation as it applies to Loria .It will serve as a good lesson to Loria when his team plays to only the vendors in the stadium next season That being said this whole mess may be about Money but it’s also about Honestly and Loyalty of which there is done .In my opinion this makes this situation in tolerable for players employee and baseball.Some one needs to look at this situation and due something about it because it’s very bad for everybody who will be this someone Baseball has a commissioner but being honest we need to admit that in some situations he is very good but in others he does nothing a good example of this how he handled theDodger situation along with current stalemate in OaklandHe too needs to be held accountable for what happens in thengreat game of Baseball .However he too has a questionable track record if we wish to look at it honestly

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