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SBD/December 8, 2011/Franchises
Marlins Continue To Make Moves, Boost Rotation With Deal For Buehrle
Published December 8, 2011
EXTREME MAKEOVER -- MIAMI EDITION: In Miami, Greg Cote writes the Marlins are "redefining 'extreme makeover' with one of the most astounding metamorphoses in the history of pro sports." It is the "new spending, the voracious aggressiveness of it, that has made this club the talk of South Florida, and of baseball." The Marlins are the "biggest player in baseball free agency even without" reaching a deal for Pujols, and they are "showing no signs of ending their shopping spree." In a "normal year," signing either Bell, Reyes or Buehrle "would have legitimately topped the marquee on this team’s offseason shopping." The idea of Owner Jeff Loria "increasing the payroll sufficient to land all three of them is mind-boggling" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/8). CBSSPORTS.com's Scott Miller wrote under the header, "In Stunning Transformation, Marlins Become The Talk Of Winter Meetings." Miller: "There are not enough ooohs and aaahs in the state of Texas for what they're doing. ... Odds were you would have seen elves in your living room and reindeer on your roof before you would have seen free agents flooding to South Florida on I-95" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/7). In L.A., Dylan Hernandez notes the Marlins "turned the baseball world upside down at the winter meetings this week" (L.A. TIMES, 12/8). The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair writes Loria and Samson are "turning the baseball world on its head" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/8). In Toronto, Bob Elliott writes under the header, "Marlins Spend Like Drunken Sailors" (TORONTO SUN, 12/8). SportsNet N.Y.'s Jonas Schwartz said, “They seem to have money coming every which way. ... No question, the Marlins are making the biggest splash in baseball right now” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 12/7). MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger said, “Again, we’ve got to talk the Miami Marlins, not because we’re biased and we’re season ticket holders, but they’re making the most headlines” (“Hot Stove Live,” MLB Network, 12/7). Agent Scott Boras said, "It’s almost like we have a new expansion franchise, isn’t it. It’s like the minnow has become the marlin. It’s fun to watch" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/8).
COUNTING THEIR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY HATCH? SI.com's Joe Lemire writes the Marlins "are baseball's nouveau riche, ready to build a sustainable long-term contender by hedging the bets of future revenues in their soon-to-open ballpark." It is a "risky endeavor as they try not to become a sporting equivalent of last decade's housing bubble burst or last century's dot-com crash." If the fans of the "historically fickle baseball market do respond with attendance that meets the Marlins' projection of 2.8 million ticks of the turnstile," then the team presumably "would also have the ability to retain the club's incumbent young talent," including RF Mike Stanton, LF Logan Morrison and 1B Gaby Sanchez (SI.com, 12/8). The N.Y. Times' Tyler Kepner said the Marlins "are banking on the fact that a fickle fan base will finally start to show up believing that having the retractable roof will cure everything." Kepner: "That ballpark is in a different part of Miami -- it's farther away from Ft. Lauderdale -- and the fans have had their hearts broken a lot by this ownership group and previous ownership groups. There is a lot of skepticism there, even if they get these star players. Who's going to end up paying most of these contracts?" YES Network's Jack Curry said, "You look at what they brought in last year, about a million-and-a-half fans. Jeffrey Loria said he's hoping for 2.8 million. That is a huge leap. You could win 110 games and not go from 1.5 million fans to 2.8. ... I would be shocked if they draw 2.8 million fans next year" ("Yankees Baseball Daily," YES Network, 12/6).
ATTENTION FOR BALLPARK NAMING RIGHTS: Samson indicated yesterday that the signings of Reyes and Bell and the "pursuit of more big-name free agents has sparked interest in companies wanting to attach their name to the retractable-roof park in Little Havana." Samson said, "We certainly have gotten more calls in the past week than I would have expected from people we have never spoken to before, so I’m kind of glad there was nothing announced prior." In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis noted that would "suggest that companies aren’t concerned with implications from the federal investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission into the controversial financing of the ballpark that surfaced last week." Davis also noted the team "plans to sell secondary sponsorships to the four quadrants of the ballpark, but Samson said they wouldn’t finalize those until the primary deal was done" (SUNSENTINEL.com, 12/7).