By Scott Barzilla

“Pick up my guitar and pray, just like yesterday, and I get on my knees and pray that we don’t get fooled again.” The Who’s “Don’t Get Fooled Again

Being last often has it downsides. Everyone has gotten a bite at the apple including our very own Rob Kelley. Quite frankly, he has been critical of the organization all the way down the line, so I allowed him the first punch. My tact will be a little different. I’m going to react to the commentary as much as I react to everything else.

This situation is not as cut and dried as some make out to be. It is more like an onion. With each passing layer it gets more and more insidious and like an onion, it can bring you to tears if you are close to the situation. First, we start with the baseball side of the deal. Let’s take a look at player A and player B in terms of WAR over the past three seasons.

  • Player A: 2.5, 4.4. 2.1
  • Player B: 2.8, 4.7. 2.2

Player A is Yunel Escobar (the new Marlins shortstop) and player B is Jose Reyes (the headliner of the deal). Which one is the better shortstop? Well, it appears to be Reyes, but by less than a combined win over the past three seasons. It certainly appears as if the collective performances of Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck also do not warrant all of the hullabaloo that has been issued the last few days.

In reality, they already have plenty of utility infielders and Jeff Mathis is likely a whole lot better as a tutor for Rob Brantly than John Buck ever would have been. So, if we choose to break down the deal itself we are primarily looking at two very good (but not great) starting pitchers in exchange for three or four prime prospects.

It’s a rare cost cutting move, but it is not unprecedented. Just this past August, the Dodgers and Red Sox exchanged even more dollars when the Red Sox decided to surrender and come back to fight another day. Absolutely no one called for that deal to be vetoed by the league, so on the merits of this deal alone, the commissioner would be making a big mistake if he decided to veto this one.

The trade itself is not a despicable one. The Red Sox and Astros have done their own fire sales in the past season. What makes it look despicable is the timing of the deal and the long history that Jeffrey Loria brings to the equation. The Marlins have had two high profile fire sales following their two World Series titles and now this fire sale appears to be complete. I say appears because you never know of a Giancarlo Stanton might not end up getting dealt just to finish the job.

There have been calls for the deal to be vetoed or for the Marlins to be contracted. This forgets the fact that they do have a nice stadium there. While they may not see people coming to the ballpark now, there is something that Bud Selig can do to make this situation right: force Jeffrey Loria to sell the team. I can defend the baseball side of this trade all day long and I can rattle off an impressive list of prospects he has gotten for all of his high priced assets, but the fact that this is the third fire sale in Marlins history (and third in his career as an owner going back to the days of Montreal).

Some people have suggested that no municipality will ever agree to build a stadium with tax payer dollars again. This notion is ludicrous. As in all business deals, you consider the veracity of the person (or people) sitting across the table from you and not necessarily someone from across the country that did their city wrong. This should not effect Oakland in any way and even though it might effect Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, it shouldn’t. Those cities should consider the honor and honesty of those owners and not Jeffrey Loria.

In the same way, baseball is not dead in Miami. It just might be dead as long as Jeffrey Loria is the owner. If Bud Selig can have any dying act as commissioner it should be to save baseball in Miami they way he should have saved baseball in Montreal. If he forces Jeff Loria out in Miami then the fans will eventually come back. They’ll come back when there is a product worth rooting for and if we know anything, you can build a winner anywhere if you do it the right way.

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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