Organized Crime in Major League Baseball

What Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria did to the Marlins franchise and to their fans last week is criminal and I honestly feel this was Miami’s plan all along.

Jeffrey Loria has become the Frank McCourt of Miami. (Photo credit – Steve Mitchell)

They signed all these players to these big contracts last year but how much did they actually have to pay out? Hanley was gone by mid season and the Dodgers took over his deal and now every single free agent is gone. In less than 12 months every notable signing is with a different team and all that’s left is Giancarlo Stanton… for now, Even Ozzie Guillen is gone.

This is insane. One year? You couldn’t possible have a long-term plan for the future if you can’t even make it through a calendar year without blowing up the franchise.

I’m willing to bet that Jose Reyes’, Mark Buehrle’s, and Heath Bells’ contracts were back loaded so the first year only looked inflated with the bulk of the money not due until the end of the deal; and now the Marlins don’t even have to pay it at all – it’s the perfect crime. They got nothing of real comparable value back. At least the Red Sox got Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands for their big ‘salary dump’.

Even new Marlins Park was paid for with taxpayer money, so that didn’t cost Loria anything either.

The worst part of this whole thing is that even though I feel bad for the players who signed on to play in Miami with great expectations but couldn’t even make it out of 2012, what about the fans… oh the fans? You know that attendance will drop next season, probably by half or more. I think that the fans will boycott the team next season, just as Cuban fans did last year when Ozzie opened his big mouth about Fidel Castro.

You can bet that fans will boycott the Miami Marlins in 2013 just as the Cuban community did last season when then manager Ozzie Guillen praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. (AP Photo)

I think Major League Baseball should take the Miami Franchise away from Loria because what he did is criminal – to the players, to the fans, to the city of Miami, and to the taxpayers.

Let this be a lesson to any current and future free agent looking for a multi-year deal. If a team isn’t even willing to consider the idea of a no trade clause, for any of its players, not just you, leave the table and block their number. If you sign with them you are no longer a free agent. You have just entered the draft at that point.

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14 Responses to “Organized Crime in Major League Baseball”

  1. Ron Cervenka says:

    A very thought-provoking post, Garrett. Thanks.

  2. ebbetsfld says:

    I agree on all points, but I don’t feel that badly for the players. They’re still going to get paid, and I really don’t think that they signed those contracts for anything other than the money. Miami is a great city, but summers there are very uncomfortable and almost any other major league city is preferable as far as weather to play ball in is concerned.

  3. OldBrooklynFan says:

    I agree, this really hurts the fans the most. To get all excited to pick up the players and then have to let them go so soon because the team can’t afford them.
    A good indication that the team is broke and it’ll be years before they have a shot at a world championship.
    I imagine it hurts the players as well if they settled down after they were traded to the team and you’re right, a player shouldn’t sign a contract that hasn’t got a “no trade” clause for him.
    I’m sure the Dodgers knew what they were doing after signing up all those players they got in trades last summer and we don’t have anything to worry about, but you never know.

  4. Bluenose Dodger says:

    Jamie and I drove to Montreal to watch a couple of Expo games in their last season. Loria was moving them out. Some guy with a huge voice kept shouting in any break in the action, with a voice that could be heard around the stadium. He shouted Loriaaaaaa, Torborggggg. It was annoying but still funny.

    There was something unsavory about the whole relocation process at that time. Loria getting the Marlins and the Expos to Washington.

    I am no doubt in the minority again. I have mixed feelings about no trade clauses. I understand the desire for a player to have stability for his family in a given location, wanting to stay with a contender, and am sympathetic towards that. But, some of these long no trade or limited trade contracts become an albatross around the team’s neck towards the end of contracts or even when a trade would significantly increase the chances of getting to the World Series. In that case the team and fans are held hostage by the contract. Players get paid huge sums of money, which is fine, but the trade off may well have to be getting traded.

    As for Loria – not being as good as his word is nothing new. The traded players have every right to to be ticked off and to express that betrayal. Perhaps they don’t like the idea of playing in Canada either. I think they still get paid in US dollars, although our dollars are at about par for quite a long time now. I am not sure how the income tax works. Our rate of income tax is higher than in the US if I understand it correctly, maybe by quite a bit.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I believe that the no-trade clause is yet another example of one side trying to hold the other side hostage in the never-ending battle brought into the game because of free agency which, of course, changed the game forever – and not for the good.

      I understand the need for free agency when, before 1974, owners pretty much treated players like property or even slaves; when the players basically had no say whatsoever in their own futures. But the pendulum has swung the other way and the players (through the MLBPA) now hold the owners (and fans) hostage. In a perfect world, there would be a perfect balance somewhere in the middle but this rarely (if ever) happens in labor management.

      As I noted in Thursday’s blog post, what Loria (and his president and GM) did will have an adverse effect on small market teams for a very long time. Not only will drafted players and free agents refuse to sign on with these teams, but cities will refuse to help them with funding for new stadiums or other necessities to make the team want to remain there. A perfect example of this is the Oakland A’s.

      As for income tax, the tax in Canada (at least in Toronto) is 49%. This is absolutely insane. Granted, this won’t kill guys making millions of dollars, but if I had to pay 49% on my limited and fixed income, I would be screwed (although with the re-election of Obama, I anticipate that we may soon match this number, not to mention increased health care costs).

      As far as I can tell, all of the Marlins players traded to Toronto are very happy about the trade, although this may have more to do with getting out of Miami than landing in Toronto. Regardless, it has definitely made the Blue Jays a contender, and you’ve got to love that, Bluenose.

  5. Bluenose Dodger says:

    49% WOW. The provincial rate in Ontario must be a doozie. The federal rate in Canada for anything over $132,000 is 29% across the country. That is not including deductions. I don’t need to worry about that rate, $15% as since Elaine has no income, we can income split in which Elaine can claim half of my income.

    I have read reports that most players coming to Toronto like the city and the organization. I watch a lot of Jays baseball so will like having them competitive. They have rehired John Gibbons as manager. He is a no nonsense type of guy andhas had altercations with Shea Hillenbrand and Ted Lilly. I also wanted the Dodgers to aggressively pursue Josh Johnson a couple of years ago.

    Good articles by Garrett and yourself on the Miami situation. I expect many don’t realize the ramifications in the future for MLB.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I am not a big fan of beating a dead horse, but I truly believe that most people do not realize just how big of a deal this really is – especially long-term. As such, this horse is far from dead.

      As you know, Garrett initially posted this on the ThinkBlueLA forum and he absolutely nailed it. He got me thinking that perhaps this was, in fact, a well-orchestrated plan by Loria and the Marlins to deceive players, fans, politicians, (etc.). I honestly believe that in the long run, this whole mess is going to bite him and the entire Marlins organization in the ass. Unfortunately, it is also going to hurt other small market teams as well.

      Because I felt that Garrett’s forum post was spot on and had merit, I asked him if I could post it as an article on the blog site, to which he said that I could.

      You hate to think that a MLB owner would stoop so low as to intentionally deceive his players, his fans, and local politicians, (etc.), but it appears that this is exactly what Loria did. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Loria follow in Frank McCourt’s footsteps and put the Marlins into bankruptcy, sell the team, and walk away with a boatload of money, just as McCourt did.

  6. Bluenose Dodger says:

    The Mets might be next.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I’m actually surprised that they have lasted this long.

      I still get a big chuckle out of the comment that Truebluewill and I received when we were walking into Citi Field wearing our Dodgers garb (for a Mets/Cubs game) and a Mets fan said “I see that you’re a fan of that bankrupt team.” I laughed out loud at the guy and said “Ya, just like your team.”

      Unfortunately, it will probably be the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme that will ultimately be the demise of the Mets.

  7. Ron Cervenka says:

    “49% WOW.”

    My bad – it’s only 47.97%. It’s a wonder that the MLB even has a team in Canada.

    • thinkblue55 says:

      Lets also consider this; what’s the state tax in Florida? The answer is N/A. State tax is 0.00%. Still have federal but to go from 0% to nearly half is one hell of an increase.

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      Guess they have to get into deferred money. LOL.

      Why is Reyes STUCK in Canada? He doesn’t have a no trade contract and if he did he can waive that. He plays here in the summer and goes home in the off season. Ask Robbie Alomar how tough it was to be revered in Toronto and win two WS rings.

      When you’re running down my country man, you walking on the fighting side of me. Going to a Merle Hagard concert in May.

      • Ron Cervenka says:

        Nobody’s running down your country, Bluenose; not by any stretch of the imagination – but facts are facts and tax is tax. The only place worse than Canada tax-wise is California (at least state income tax-wise).

        And why should Jose Reyes not feel STUCK in Canada – this wasn’t part of the deal when he signed on with Miami, which, of course, is tb55’s point entirely.

        Roberto Alomar chose to play in Toronto, Jose Reyes did not.

        I suspect that all of the guys traded to the Blue Jays will eventually be VERY glad that they were. Unlike the Marlins, the Toronto organization is a class organization that “knows how to win.” 😉

  8. thinkblue55 says:

    I posted this in another article but it applies here too.

    The sole reason the Marlins didn’t land Pujols? Didn’t offer a no trade clause. He met with them and heard their pitch but when they weren’t even willing to discuss it they were out. He never even truly consider them a contender at that point. How would you like to sign a 9 or 10 year contract within an employers where you move you and your family to that city just to be forced to relocate against your will to a location of their choosing? Now imagine this happened your first year in. Forget about the fact that you still get the money and just think about the roots you intended to establish in a city/state and just when you get settled you are told to close your eyes and point. Wherever you finger lands on the map that’s where you were moving too. Not only are you moving but you are there for the reminder of your deal. You just pissed away your hard earned free agency status. Some may say ‘Well that’s the business. They should be used to it.’ And they were…for their first six years as a Major Leaguer.

    In the case of Jose Reyes he is now stuck in Canada for 5 years. He signed up to play in Miami with the promise of not just big money but a plan for the future and a new direction and life for not just the franchise but the city and the Latin/Cuban community. As a Latin player I’m sure that appealed to him. Now he’s got a better chance to win in Toronto which is great but he signed with Miami and with the intent of playing in Miami for a large portion if not the duration of his contract. He was a free agent and he earned that right. No offense to our Canadian members, I’m sure Toronto is lovely…but it’s no Miami Beach.

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