Last winter, the Marlins threw money around wildly, as they attempted to put a winning team in their new ballpark, and now, POOF…those new players are all gone, and they took Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez with them. Social media has exploded, with calls for Loria to sell the team, or for Major League Baseball to contract or move the Marlins.
I realize there are plenty of fans in Canada who blame Jeffrey Loria personally for the Expos’ move to Washington. I also realize the citizens of Miami paid big to get a new stadium built for the Marlins. The criticism, at this point, seems warranted, but before I chase the monster toward the windmill, I’m at least willing to watch and see what the Marlins are doing here.
I’m sure I’ll take some heat for saying that, but I have to ask…how are the Marlins any different than the Red Sox?
Boston had Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Kevin Youkilis under contract at this time last year, they had aggressively pursued players through free agency and trades in recent years, and the prevailing wisdom was that they had a contending ball club.
The Marlins went out and bought Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Heath Bell, and they had Ramirez, Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Giancarlo Stanton waiting for the new players to reach town. In many circles, by the time spring training opened, the Marlins were considered contenders.
The Red Sox hired a proven, but controversial manager in Bobby Valentine. Valentine is a guy who knows the game as well as anyone, but he is also a guy who is viewed by some as arrogant, and difficult to get along with. Many observers wondered whether Valentine’s approach would work in Boston – a team full of veteran players, many of whom had large contracts, and were not used to a manager who openly questioned them.
The Marlins hired Ozzie Guillen…as controversial a manager as baseball has seen in recent seasons. This was the man who tore into one of his own players in Chicago until the man wept openly in the dugout. It didn’t take long for Guillen to become a full-blown distraction in Miami, as his comments regarding Fidel Castro exploded through the headlines just after the paint dried in the brand new home clubhouse.
Both teams flopped in 2012.
In Boston, Youkilis, Beckett, Gonzalez and Crawford are gone.
In Florida, Ramirez, Bell, Reyes, Johnson and Sanchez are gone.
Bobby Valentine is out in Boston – Ozzie Guillen is out in Miami.
Both teams dumped players, cut payroll and canned the big-name skipper.
ONE of those teams is being roundly criticized at this point.
How are the Marlins any different than the Red Sox?
If it’s wrong to throw half the team out in one huge move, dumping big contracts, and cutting payroll by taking on young talent in place of well-known veterans…shouldn’t it be wrong EVERYWHERE?
Where’s the outrage in New England? Why shouldn’t Boston’s ownership be openly questioned in the same manner Jeffrey Loria is being questioned tonight?
Dodgers = Blue Jays, and Red Sox = Marlins