Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The Miami Marlins cannot catch a break as a result of the team's November fire sale. Not only is Major League Baseball potentially on their back regarding their payroll, but there are rumors that players (rightfully) do not trust owner Jeffrey Loria.
The Miami Marlins have been suffering the wrath of the media over their November fire sale that saw three prominent Marlins sent off to the Toronto Blue Jays with the primary goal of cutting salary. While the idea of reloading after the 2012 core failed to accomplish anything is, on the surface, not a bad idea given the team's payroll size, the way it was done left a sour taste in everyone's mouths, especially those of the MLB Players Association and the very Marlins fans that were supposed to help foot the bill for the new stadium.
But one additional group which has been angered are the players, as evidenced by the numerous occasions since the trade in which Marlins players were told they were not to be traded and sent away anyway. After this action, apparently the players have lost all trust for Loria, according to sources reporting to Miami Herald's Barry Jackson.
The obvious consequence of trading Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle – who both said Loria assured them they would not be – is that "players don’t trust him," one prominent agent said. "Why would anyone ever take him at his word again?"
That loss of trust and the alienation of his fan base stand as Loria’s biggest impediments as he enters his 12th season as Marlins owner.
This is no surprise, and I had figured just as much when I initially discussed this after the trade. Players want money, but they also absolutely want security, especially the types of players who are looking to sign long-term deals and settle their families in one location. And yes, money can definitely override the need for location security, but with the reputation that Loria has with the players, that may cost the Marlins a pretty penny to overcome. Loria has bred too much distrust with the players with the news of these broken verbal commitments that players may ask for too heavy a premium from the team to consider signing.
What are the Marlins to do given this problem? The players do not trust the owner enough to sign long-term contracts without charging a hefty premium. The homegrown talent is probably quite aware of it as well, and they are less likely to sign friendly contracts to stay in the same place for the long haul, especially if the Marlins continue to balk on offering these sorts of contracts like they seem to have with Giancarlo Stanton. All of the machinations of Loria and company have left the Fish in a difficult place in terms of both retaining their current crop of players and supplementing them with signings. This ends up negating the trade value the team received in sending those big contracts out to Toronto as well.
The only way to resolve this conflict is with a change in the way player personnel is handled in the Marlins organization. Loria and company need to find a trusted hire who will have more autonomy to make baseball decisions, because with the current group under Larry Beinfest, we have seen Loria's meddling to be too apparent (more on that later today). Without a fresh approach, the Marlins are simply delaying their next fire sale or cycle of trades until when the next crop of players becomes expensive and available.