It's been two days since MLB commissioner Bud Selig officially approved the Marlins' controversial trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that signaled what appears to be Jeffrey Loria's final blow to a Miami roster that many figured would be a contender during the 2012 season.
Among the players shipped to Toronto was Mark Bueherle. Bueherle, along with Jose Reyes and Heath Bell, was a big part of the Marlins' surprising spending spree after the 2011 season, signing a four-year, $58 million deal on December 9th. And perhaps most importantly, many figured Buehrle would be the most consistent of the free agent haul for the Fish.
Buehrle lived up to the expectations many had for him at the beginning of the year. He made 31 starts, threw over 200 innings, and finished the season with a 3.74 ERA. Not Cy Young-worthy numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but with how much shuffling and inconsistency that the Marlins' rotation showed over the course of the 2012 season, Buehrle was the constant.
After the deal was made, Giancarlo Stanton was the first Marlins player to voice his displeasure through Twitter, but today Buehrle had some not-so-kind words of his own through a joint statement released today with agent Jeff Berry.
Here is what was said, courtesy of Mike Berardino's blog at the Sun-Sentinel. First, from Buehrle himself:
I’m upset with how things turned out in Miami. Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career.
From Buehrle's agent, Jeff Berry:
In an off-season of change and uncertainty, the overriding factor in Mark’s signing with Miami was Ozzie Guillen and the level of comfort his presence provided Mark and his family. While the Marlins were the highest bidder, baseball had already made Mark a wealthy man, so money was far from the most important factor in his decision.
Throughout the recruiting process, the Marlins made repeated assurances about their long-term commitment to Mark and his family and their long-term commitment to building a winning tradition of Marlins baseball in the new stadium. This was demonstrated by their already completed signings of Ozzie, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes.
At the same time, given the Marlins’ history, we were all certainly aware of and voiced concern about the lack of no-trade protection. This is unquestionably a business, and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can't be said of the Marlins.
Even though Buehrle's statement about being lied to has made the most headlines so far, what intrigued me the most was what was said by his agent.
Berry makes it clear that both he and Buehrle understood the risks of signing with Miami, but then goes on to say that the club did not hold up their end of the bargain. Sure, the verbal assurances made to Buehrle and his family by the organization appear deceitful in hindsight, but the reality is that the "calculated risk" turned out to be just that.
The Marlins' ownership has clearly made it a priority to not give out full no-trade clauses. Mark Buehrle signed a contract without a no-trade clause. Mark Buehrle was then traded. The end.
One can understand where Berry is coming from in this situation in regards to emotions and looking out for Buehrle's family (which he has every right to do), but the reality is that the worst punishment that the Marlins have, and will continue to receive, is the perception of fans, baseball analysts and other players to their wheeling and dealing. Loria and the rest of the Miami front office will have to deal with the repercussions and fallout of the decisions they have made over the past twelve months, no matter how many players involved believe it isn't fair.
It's cliche, but baseball is truly a business, first and foremost. And as Berry points out, Mark Buehrle (and others) simply got business'd.