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On Tuesday night, an ESPN text popped up on my phone stating that the Florida Marlins were in the process of trading pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria. I texted a friend of mine to see if he had heard about the proposed deal. He responded “and they are trading Reyes”.

As in Jose Reyes. The man that the Marlins signed to a six year, $106 million contract last December. The deal had been sweetened as the Marlins added outfielder/infielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher Joe Buck to the deal while the Blue Jays threw in some more prospects to send to Florida.

The first thought that came to my head was wow.

Almost a year ago, owner Jeffrey Loria was trying to court every available big name free agent to South Beach. They brought Albert Pujols to town in hopes that he could be the new face of the franchise for their new stadium. Pujols wouldn’t sign because the Marlins policy dictates that they are not to give a no-trade clause in a contract. They signed closer Heath Bell to a three year, $27 million deal. When it became evident that the Marlins weren’t going to land Pujols, they went into impulse shopper mode and signed Buehrle to a 4 year, $58 million deal and Reyes on the same day.

How smart does Albert look now?

The second week of the 2012 season was an indicator of how the rest of the year would go. New Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen got into hot water by voicing his love for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The Marlins suspended Guillen for five games. Bell never adapted to his new surroundings and locked horns with his skipper. Bell got demoted after the first month of the season only to get it back a few weeks later. He then lost it again after the All-Star Break. Late in the season, a rift developed between Bell and Guillen where Bell admitted that his teammates had probably lost respect for him for speaking out against Guillen.

While all of that was unfolding, the Marlins traded away former Rookie of the Year and batting champion Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers in late July.

Things are so bad in Florida that star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton tweeted this after the Buehrle/Johnson/Reyes trade:

"Alright, I'm (expletive) off!!! Plain & Simple."

If you think Stanton is mad, imagine how the Marlins fans must feel. The new $600 million stadium was 80 percent publicly funded. There is no way in the name of LeBron James that any free agent with half of a brain would even consider signing with Miami after these recent events.

Loria should be absolutely ashamed of himself. He is the guy who plays Monopoly and buys up every piece of property and then adorns them with houses and hotels only to have to sell them back to the bank because he is losing money to other players. That’s what he has done in this situation and it’s sad that the Marlins fan base has to pay the price.

Loria tried to buy the Baltimore Orioles in 1994 but Peter Angelos won the bidding instead. I don’t know if Orioles fans know the bullet that they dodged. Can you imagine if Loria had purchased the team? Cal Ripken Jr. would have been shipped off to the Pittsburgh Pirates and broken Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record in front of a crowd of about 20,000 people.

Bud Selig should send Loria a message. I know there are some who think Selig should prohibit Miami from hosting a future All-Star Game for a prolonged period. I don’t agree with that because that’s punishing the fans. Selig is reviewing the trade and it will ultimately go through. Hey Selig, you want to send a message to Loria? Here it is.

You are going pay every last red cent to Buehrle, Johnson, Reyes, Bonifacio, and Buck.

If you are going to sign players to ridiculous contracts only to flip them less than a year later, you are going to pay the price in every way possible. If that type of restriction was put into place, I guarantee you that Loria would think twice before he ever offered a multi year contract to another player again. Better yet, maybe that would be what Marlins fans would need for Loria to finally sell the team to a responsible owner who cares about their fans.

Jeffrey Loria, do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

 

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