Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Loria Security Lies with Bud

Earlier today we learned about a blockbuster trade between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. While the trade has not been made official yet, it is likely just a matter of time. It took Jeff Loria, owner of the Marlins, less than 12 months to get rid of three All-Star caliber players signed to long term contracts and take the team payroll from $98 million to around $16 million dollars. The only most notable player left in Miami is Giancarlo Stanton. Don't be surprised if major news outlets attempt to spearhead a campaign to have Bud Selig force Loria to sell the team. Don't be surprised when that call falls on deaf ears.

Bud Selig after all is the man who supported his efforts as the then owner of the Montreal Expos to seek a city-funded new stadium. When Montreal (wisely) rejected the demand Loria, Selig, and then Florida Marlins owner John Henry came up with a plan to allow Henry to sell his team to Loria, Loria to sell his team to the Commissioners Office, and Bud to get approval from the rest of the league owners. Once sold, Loria moved on to become owner of Florida, Henry relocated to Boston and within 2 years each had a World Series ring. Nothing has smelled quite right on these people since.

Loria took over a new team, won the World Series in 2003 and immediately dumped most of the talent making more than the league minimum. When holdovers, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrel Willis, got too expensive he shipped them to Detroit. Loria then said he was going to try and build a winner, including signing then face-of-the-franchise Hanley Ramirez to a contract extension along with Josh Johnson. This helped convince the Miami City Officials to approve a taxpayer funded new stadium which was followed up with large contract free agents last winter. Once again Loria has dumped talent while keeping a young, affordable slugger behind only now he plays in a gaudy new stadium. Keep an eye on the batting prospects Toronto is giving up because odds are good Giancarlo's replacement is among them.

I spoke about John Henry in my first post and do not have much to add on him here.

Bud Selig has supported Loria every dirty step along the way. He not only let Loria change ownership, he helped Loria get a $38 million dollar interest free loan from MLB to buy the Marlins. He attempted to have Montreal contracted along with the Minnesota Twins after the sale went through. He refuses to bat an eye on the salary dumps. He supported Loria's efforts to get the new stadium funded, it helps support MLBs bottom line. More importantly to Bud, it is another new stadium that he can put on his list of "accomplishments" during his tenure as commissioner. Loria already ranks among the worst owners in professional sports, so hits to his credibility cannot possibly do much more damage to his reputation. 

Should Loria be forced out as owner of the Miami Marlins? Yes, preferably with a fine that diverts any profits from the sale going first to paying off the stadium before he gets anything. Will it happen? No, his actions have been endorsed by Bud Selig for over a decade and it is too much to hope that Selig did what was right for baseball fans everywhere. So what can be done? Boycott anything related to the Miami Marlins, even if they visit your team on the road. Empty stadiums will get the league interested. It is a decade late, but America can no longer ignore just how terrible Jeff Loria really is. Who said Canadians were slow?