SBD/January 24, 2014/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Marlins' Loria Puts Faith In Team Execs, Defers On Baseball Decisions

Loria still attends meetings but reportedly is taking a hands-off approach
In Miami, Barry Jackson notes Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria “has such faith in his executives that for the first time, he has been deferring to them on baseball decisions.” Loria has “ordered many moves in the past.” However, a source said that Loria “hasn’t demanded anything this offseason.” Jackson notes Loria “still sits in the meetings and gives opinions but has apparently concluded, at least so far, that he needs to let his baseball people do their jobs.” The staff is “now headed” up by President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill, GM Dan Jennings and three new hires. The question is whether Loria “will be tempted to start meddling again when the season starts or as soon as something goes wrong” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 1/24).

THE BUCS STOP HERE? In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik wonders why people “aren’t upset” that the Pirates' payroll currently stands at about $76M, a “clear violation of the spirit” team President Frank Coonelly's statement that when attendance increased, the payroll would follow. Smizik: “Yes, payroll has gone up. But $76 million is not typically the payroll of a team that really wants to win now.” This is “no suggestion that the Pirates should go on some crazy spending spree,” but they “do have money to spend” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/24). Also in Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic writes of the Pirates’ projected payroll, “If it holds, it's a $3.4 million increase. Which would be pitiful.” By season's end, “there's no excuse” for payroll to wind up below $90M at a “bare minimum” (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/24).

SPENDING ON THE FLY: Orioles Exec VP/Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said that the team has perhaps as much as $17M to spend for the ‘14 season and are “still looking to do so.” Duquette: “We have resources to extend our payroll. Our payroll is going to be closer to $100 million this year. ... Over the course of four years, we have been expanding our payroll. But we are going to stay within the resources of the market” (Baltimore SUN, 1/23).

EARNING THEIR KEEP: In Chicago, Colleen Kane noted the White Sox “slowly are assembling a young group of players they hope will revive the team and fan interest,” and P Erik Johnson and 3B Marcus Semien “want to be a part of it.” The pair came to Chicago from Northern California the “day before the opening of SoxFest” to sit at desks in the team’s offices at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday “making phone calls to Sox season ticket holders” (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 1/23).
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