Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Marlins Way

The Miami Marlins have agreed to a trade with the Toronto Blue jays that would send Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to the Jays for Yuel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, and some minor league prospects.  Earlier this year the Marlins dealt Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell.  At the start of 2012 this team was supposed to contend for a division title.  What happened?

Simply put, the Marlins underachieved and decided to purge a quarter billion in salary money over the next 6 years.  Unlike the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers the Marlins don't have enormous TV contracts and additional streams of income to offset monetary losses.  They take their chances and if the experiment fails the shelve the plan and start from scratch.

This is not the first time the Marlins have adopted this philosophy.  In 1997 they went all in to win the World Series with stars like Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Moises Alou, and Bobby Bonilla.  After they won the title they gutted the team citing payroll issues.  In 2003 the youngsters they acquired through various trades overachieved and won another World Series.  Again the Marlins couldn't afford to pay their budding superstars and flipped the roster.

This approach to personnel moves has to be hard on the fan base and players associated with the Marlins organization.  There is no opportunity to have an emotional tie to the guys on the roster.  As soon as you start to like someone they're shipped off to some other team and as soon as the team starts to produce at a high level the players change. 

The Marlins have been lucky in the past because their prospects develop into great players.  You can't always end up with all stars for all stars however.  Sooner or later they will regret not having the patience (or the money) to see things through.  Constantly rebuilding your team is the surest way to get fans to lose interest.

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