Well, the trade deadline has come and past, and you wouldn’t believe it. The Miami Marlins, yes the 18-games-below-.500 Marlins, have yet again sold at the deadline. Did we expect anything less from our illustrious and well-respected owner Jeffrey Loria?
The Marlins at, and slightly before the deadline, gave up on the already lost season. We saw the dealing of Dan Haren to the Cubs for a pair of inconsequential Minor Leaguers. Haren’s contract was already being paid for by the Dodgers. In what was probably the most complex deal of the trading season, we saw the Marlins deal Mat Latos and Michael Morse to the Dodgers. Salary relief for the sake of salary relief is all well and good during a lost season, but to make matters even more comical, the Marlins traded their 35th overall pick in the 2015 draft. Although early round draft picks typically go hand in hand with “rebuilding,” I’m sure the Marlins have a plan.
Clearing house is one of the most stated phrases in the Marlins lexicon. We saw it with Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera in 2007. We saw it with Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Mark Buehrle in 2012. The players being traded in the 2015 version aren’t akin to the previous iterations, franchise players Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez are still being retained, the tone though remains the same. The Marlins started the season with the lowest payroll in the majors, with about $68 million, they will likely finish at the bottom by the end.
Are the Marlins rebuilding? Perhaps. It is hard to believe such a notion though when the team fires the manager and replaces him with the general manager, the person who is usually seen as the head of rebuilding. Does Jeffery Loria care? I’m incredulous. The stadium construction debacle, where Miami-Dade County paid $155 million for the new stadium but will receive none of the revenue, to go along with constant reshuffling and salary relief deals leaves me to believe he doesn’t.
The Marlins made about $15 million in operating income according to Forbes in 2014, more than then the New York Yankees, yet finished 27th in annual attendance. Very odd. Now call me cynical, but maybe the word “rebuilding” is actually Marlins speak for “Profit-Making.” We can only wonder.