The talk of baseball this week has been the massive trade that was agreed upon between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s quite a remarkable what has taken place in the recent months, twice we’ve seen one team absorb essentially all of another’s expensive contracts, with the hopes of fortifying their roster. The Los Angeles Dodgers did very much the same thing when they struck a huge deal with the Boston Red Sox in August.
This deal though was bad because it is consistent with a pattern of destruction that has plagued the Marlins over the team’s almost 20 year history. They’ve been quite successful when they wanted to be, winning 2 World Series Championships, but almost immediately those championship teams were dismantled and the Marlins were turned into cellar dwellars. Jeffrey Loria has proven himself to be an owner who really doesn’t like to invest money in his team in order to make it successful. He bucked his own trend last offseason with the shopping spree that brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell to Miami. It almost brought Albert Pujols to South Beach as well.
The team was a disaster, the big name manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t mesh with the high priced talent, and the team was a last place team despite all the money spent. Loria had seen enough, and this offseason he set out to shed what he saw as already albatross contracts. Bell was shipped to Arizona in the 3-way deal that brought Chris Young to the A’s, and both Reyes and Buehrle are going to head to Toronto in this deal along with John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, and Marlins ace Josh Johnson. The Marlins are receiving some good young talent in return for them, but that doesn’t do much to alleviate the frustration fans in Miami are feeling right now. This fish had been gutted.
It got me thinking though, that while A’s fans have had many grievances about onwer Lew Wolff, miraculously it could be worse. The A’s franchise is hanging in limbo, waiting for a “f****** answer” from Bud Selig as he put it himself about their desire to move to San Jose. The team was not expecting or planning to compete in 2012, but the team overcame the executive lack of desire to succeed anyway.
While Jeffrey Loria has literally hijacked the Marlins franchise, conned the city into funding a new stadium, and dismantled the team once again when things didn’t go his way, Lew Wolff has shown some signs of willingness to help keep the team competitive. It won’t involve any kind of reckless spending like we saw in Miami, as we still may see Stephen Drew and Brandon McCarthy find paydays elsewhere.
It’s interesting to take into consideration all of the abuse this franchise and its fans have taken over the last few years, the lack of support, the losing, seeing the cross bay rival San Francisco Giants win the World Series… twice, and to feel compassion and almost pity for another fanbase. The Marlins fans have to feel like their team isn’t even theirs, their team is a means to an end for a greedy billionaire.
The Athletics are likely meant to be a catalyst for a huge real estate deal for Wolff, but it simply doesn’t seem like he’s the same type of greedy business man Jeffrey Loria is. Loria, for lack of a better term has an element of evil to him. Lew Wolff wants to make a profit, there’s no doubt about that, but I highly doubt he’ll stoop to the depths of Jeffrey Loria.