A lot has been made of the recent trade between and Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Sure its a fire sale and there is absolutely no way to look at this trade in a vacuum, especially for a casual fan who doesn't get too into advanced metrics. It's also impossible to view in a vacuum because ultimately sports bring emotions with them, both for those involved and for the fans themselves, though I will venture to say the latter have much more emotion invested.
Now, the other writers on this site, especially Michael, have done a great job in breaking this thing down from a value standpoint and how it works in a practical sense on the field. But there is another aspect of this move that is also practical for the team though this angle is more off-the-field. That angle is money. Yup. good ol' fashioned money. I'm not talking about payroll money here. I'm talking about money in terms of franchise value and money being added to Jeffrey Loria's already small fortune.
If you've been reading the news and keep up on your finances, you'll know that capital gains tax is due to rise significantly in the coming year or two. So here is my theory... I believe Loria is getting set to sell the team. This is something I've been expecting and hoping for for quite some time and could end up being a win-win for all involved, even though many a Marlins fan feels like a big loser right now. Regardless of revenue sharing, Loria has been bleeding money with this franchise for about a decade with the previous stadium's lousy lease agreement and putrid attendance numbers. Finally, the new stadium gets built and with that comes not only new revenue streams but also significant increase in franchise value. So it's my thought that Loria will try to maximize his profits over the next year buy slashing payroll and thus will sell the team in the near future.
Now, this notion may disgust many fans, especially the ones in SoFla who are paying for that building while a minor league team plays on its field. In all honesty, I'd welcome it. Loria has run his course down here. Loria just doesn't fit into the landscape. Miami is a flashy town. We like it big and loud, excluding homerun sculptures. Mickey Arison is one of the richest men in the world and spends like it. The Dolphins? Joe Robbie built his own stadium. Wayne Huizenga, misguided or not, spent on the Dolphins and brought hockey and baseball to South Florida and HE ACTUALLY spent money on a World Series winner. Loria just can't compete in the eyes of Miami fans with that kind of history.
So now what? I say grab his profits from the potential sale of the team and get the hell out of dodge. And you know what? I'm OK with that. I understand that its just business and, frankly, from the moment the first shovel was placed at the groundbreaking, I knew it was only a matter of time until he would sell. As long as I get to keep my team, he can get the hell out. Sell the team to a Hispanic owner who gives a crap and who has deep pockets, thus not having to penny-pinch like our current art dealer-turned-MLB owner. And I insist on it being a Hispanic owner. Call it living in America all you want, but south Florida is dominated by Hispanics, especially Cubans, and after the Castro comments and all this constant betrayal of trust, the Latin people of Miami, the Marlins' primary constituents, they need someone who they can trust at the top of this organization.
The other angle of practicality at play here is purely from a public relations standpoint. One thing we've known throughout the history of this franchise is they don't typically make headlines for winning. Sure, they have two World Series trophies but they also only have two playoff berths in their 20-year existence. How else are the Marlins supposed to turn heads if not buy pulling these kinds of stunts? Fire managers, pretend to be courting Albert Pujols, fire sale the team, introduce your new loud-ass uniforms with Pitbull on stage... do whatever you have to do keep your product at the forefront of the public consciousness.
You may think I'm a bit off-base here, but have you ever heard David Sampson's weekly segment on Dan LeBatard's radio show? It's obvious he likes to hear himself talk. I mean, his willingness to go on the radio on a weekly basis, which rarely does any other sports executive that high up in their organization do, is proof enough. What about Loria's smugness as he sat there tallying curse words with his clicker at Ozzie's first team meeting? These are all signs of an organization that will go to endless lengths to get their name in the news. Look, as much as George Steinbrenner enjoyed the limelight as well, he was the owner of the damn Yankees so it comes with the territory. But he also genuinely cared about winning and about the public perception of his franchise. Obviously he and Loria are not cut from the same cloth since apparently Loria will risk dragging his franchise's name through the mud to grab some headlines.
You may totally disagree with what I'm saying, and honestly, the attention-grabbing is my own little off-beat take on this whole thing, but the capital gains threat is very real. And if it means he is selling the team sooner rather than later, then please just get on with it already.