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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.
One thing is crystal clear from my conversations with Sandy Alderson and that is he intends to make changes this off-season as the evaluation process with this team has concluded. He will continue to reinforce his minor league system and we saw the start of that with the advent of the "Matt Harvey Era" last season. There are others on the way but the intention is to improve the team this off-season with more power in the lineup and more power arms in the bullpen. The free-agent class is not deep this year so he will have to be creative but all eyes will be on a general manager who enters his first off-season in the post-Madoff era.
One thing we should have all learned this season is that building a baseball team is not about throwing millions of dollars at a problem. It certainly did not work for the Miami Marlins. And while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels have spent the last 12 months spending money like a teenager who just got dad's credit card, it should be noted that the subtle moves made the difference in places like San Francisco where Marco Scutaro became the bargain of the trading deadline.