Miami Taxpayers Big Losers in Loria’s Shell Game

Josh Johnson, Miami Marlins

When news surfaced yesterday that the Miami Marlins were unloading most of their team to the Toronto Blue Jays in yet another salary dump I thought of the scene in the movie Wall Street when the Charlie Sheen character said to Gordon Gecco, "I just heard about the fire sale at Blue Star. I thought you were going to turn the company around, not upside down." Gecco's response, "It's all about the bucks--the rest is just conversation."

Enter Jeffrey Loria who insisted that his new stadium would set the scene for the "New Marlins." He even changed the team logo and then went out and signed every free agent who would agree to a "no-trade clause" for insane money. The city of Miami went along with it not only giving him a new stadium but also giving him all kinds of secondary benefits like the parking concessions for instance around the new stadium.

Now what do the people of Miami have? A brand new shiny stadium with the same Marlin team they have seen before--totally stripped down and a shell of their former self. The other 2 times the Marlins did this came on the heels of a championship and although I disagreed with those moves as well, at least it did not involve extorting money from taxpayers for a new stadium.

Last winter after signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, and Heath Bell to free agent contracts, the Marlins made a run at Albert Pujols and would have snared him had they given him a full no-trade clause but when they balked at that suggestion, Pujols said thanks but no thanks. To me, that was a sign that Miami would eventually hold a fire sale but I did not expect it this soon.

Not only have they dealt away every free agent but they have also shed contracts they had prior to their wild spending as Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and Josh Johnson have been dealt away as well. I am sure Ricky Nolasco who is arbitration eligible will soon be gone as well and you can bet Gianclarlo Stanton will be traded 12-16 months from now once he could file for arbitration.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Loria is laughing all the way to the bank or as Gordon Gecco would put it, "Greed is good". If the truth be told, Gecco is a rank amateur compared to Loria when it comes to the subject of greed