SBD/November 15, 2012/Franchises

Marlins' Samson, Loria Speak Out In Defense Of Trade With Blue Jays

Loria denies intentions to sell the team, saying, "That's more stupidity"
Marlins President David Samson yesterday as a guest on WAXY-AM's "The Dan Le Batard Show" said of fans' perceived negative reaction to the team's multiplayer trade with the Blue Jays, “I think that people should feel betrayed by the fact that we were losing so much. I would think they wouldn’t want us to stay on path and keep losing." When asked why anyone should trust the Marlins management team, Samson said, “Do you mean trust in the fact that we chose the right players? Now I will give you that we obviously haven’t been choosing the right players recently. The faith that we have in our scouts and our upper baseball management to come to our fans with names of players that can win more games -- we still have that faith." He said of next year’s payroll, “I’m not sure what range the payroll will end up at, but I know that we will have the players in place that we believe we will do better than last year. ... We tried the higher payroll and ended up losing more games. So whatever the payroll is, the real important part is having better players." Samson said of Marlins Park, "Let’s not forget how much money (Marlins Owner) Jeffrey Loria spent. He spent over $160 million of his own money to get a ballpark built, which has been a very positive thing and will continue to be a positive long after all of us are gone. ... It’s no longer about whether or not baseball can exist in Miami. We have a ballpark and it exists in Miami and the Marlins aren’t going anywhere for generations" (“The Dan Le Batard Show,” WAXY-AM, 11/14). CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Heyman noted Loria yesterday "defended the megadeal with the Blue Jays that has been characterized as a 'fire sale." Loria said, "We finished in last place. Figure it out." Loria "emphatically said he is not selling the team." He said, "Absolutely not. That's more stupidity. We have to get better. We can't finish in last place. That's unacceptable. We have to take a new course" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/14).

MIXED FEELINGS: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at the owners meetings in Chicago yesterday said that the league has yet to see a formal submission for review of the proposed blockbuster trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins that sheds almost all of the Marlins' veteran payroll. Selig declined further comment on the much-discussed deal, but is expected to address the matter later today following the conclusion of the meetings. Selig is not expected to use his best-interests-of-baseball powers to scuttle the trade. Loria, meanwhile, declined to address a group of assembled reporters as he attended committee meetings yesterday, angrily snapping. "Not today, boys. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not going to figure it out for you." On the record, other team execs yesterday said they felt there was nothing overtly wrong with the deal. Even outspoken critics of the prior activities of revenue sharing recipients. "Both teams thought they improved themselves. That's what trades are all about," said Yankees President Randy Levine. "There's a collective bargaining agreement, and so far as we can tell, everybody's playing by the rules." White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf declined to characterize his feeling on the trade, even as his body language suggested concern. "That's an interesting question," Reinsdorf said when quizzed on the trade. "I think I'm going to leave that to the commissioner. As a smart man said, it's above my pay grade." More privately, many owners communicated astonishment regarding the deal. "Just when you think you've seen everything, this comes along," said one team exec with multiple decades in the game, shaking his head (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

30 ANGRY MEN? ESPN’s Buster Olney said if he were Selig, he would "be worried about the owners’ meetings ... knowing how many angry people are going to be in the room.” Olney said team execs told him “there are going to be a lot of questions raised about revenue-sharing money thrown at the Marlins in recent years, whether or not this is going to do damage to the Miami market going forward” but if you are Selig this is a “road you’ve been down before.” ESPN’s Darren Rovell said the sell-off and receiving revenue-sharing payments is a “brilliant business move." Rovell: "Is it unethical? It would seem that would be the case” ("OTL," ESPN, 11/14).
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