By Ross Newhan
If Bud Selig was ever going to follow the lead of the late Bowie Kuhn and act in baseball's best interest to stop a one sided trade that spit in the face of Miami fans and taxpayers this was it.
However, Selig has failed to respond to the 12 player trade between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays that sent almost all of the remaining cream of Miami's roster to Canada--and that's a shame, to put it mildly.
Less than a year after opening their $600 million, technicolor ballpark--about two thirds of which is the obligation of local taxpayers--and going on a rare spending spree to justify all of the lobbying and the expenditure on the ballpark, owner Jeff Loria traded about $160 million in contracts to the Blue Jays (obviously having seen Baltimore and Tampa Bay prove that the AL East does not belong strictly to the Yankees and Red Sox).
Of course, the Marlins were a disappointing 63-79 with all of their in put of talent, but there were so many injuries and internal issues under since fired manager Ozzie Guillen that perhaps the roster that started the season deserved another chance under new manager Mike Redmond.
Now, Redmond figures to field a lineup that might have problems with the Class A team he managed last year. In fact, some of his Class A players may be part of the lineup.
Having already made in-season trades that sent Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers and Edward Mujica to the Cardinals, Loria began the offseason by trading disappointing closer Heath Bell to Arizona (a legitimate move) and now has traded shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to the Blue Jays for seven players who aren't going to produce a run on Miami's season ticket windows. Three of the seven were ranked by Baseball America among Toronto's top 10 prospects, but prospects are just that until they are something more or something less.
Reyes and Buehrle, the Marlins' premier free agent signings of last winter at $164, had both demonstrated good faith and long term intentions by not demanding no trade clauses, but good faith has always had a twisted meaning under Loria and predecessor Wayne Huizenga, who is remembered for breaking up his 1997 World Series winner.
Consider, in the context of good faith, what Larry Beinfest, Miami's head of baseball operations, said at the time of Guillen's firing: "Our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture."
Tweeted Giancarlo Stanton, one of the few remaining forces in the Miami lineup: "Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plan & Simple."
At a time when money is pouring into baseball through television, internet, merchandising and global expansion, the Marlins have deceived their fans while the Blue Jays have taken advantage of an opportunity. Besides local television contracts that are exploding at an unprecedented rate, the 30 clubs will each receive about $24 million from the new national contracts starting in 2014.
Selig has opened new avenues--on and off the field---but he should and/or should have closed this one to the Marlins, whose taxpaying fans deserved better.