Marlins’ brass defends controversial moves
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Last place. 93 losses. Get used to hearing those terms from the Miami Marlins the next few days by way of explanation as they finalize a 12-player mega deal with the Blue Jays.
The trade that will send Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto still is not official. The two sides continue to sort through medical reports and conducting physicals before presenting the deal to the commissioner’s office for approval.
Both owner Jeffrey Loria and team President David Samson made their first comments since news of the trade broke on Wednesday. CBSSports.com caught up with “a defiant Loria” at the owners’ meetings in Chicago.
“We finished in last place,” Loria told Jon Heyman. “That’s unacceptable. We have to take a new course.”
Loria also told Heyman he has no intention of selling the team, calling the notion “more stupidity.”
Samson echoed some of those sentiments in a pre-taped segment on “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz.”
“We sat down after the season and talked about the team and said we cannot keep finishing in last place,” Samson said. “I absolutely recognize names coming back in a potential trade are not names people are familiar with, but in the baseball world people are familiar with them.”
LeBatard hammered Samson with questions about the fans’ distrust of this ownership group and the appearance the Marlins pulled a bait-and-switch with the team.
“What I say to them is we spent it wrong,” said Samson, referencing last season’s $191 million free-agent spending spree on Reyes, Buehrle and Heath Bell.
Samson also sidestepped the question of the team’s payroll. A projected 25-man roster based on players currently within the organization totals about $36 million, including money the Marlins are sending the Diamondbacks for Bell. Last season, the Marlins’ Opening Day payroll was about $94 million.
“I’m not sure what range the payroll will end up at, but I know we’ll have the players in place to do better than last year,” Samson said. “We tried the higher payroll and ended up losing more games. Whatever the payroll is, the real important part is having better players.”