Bud Selig wasn't ever going to veto the Miami Marlins' latest do-over plan, because it was never a bad baseball trade. Sure, it stinks ethically. It stinks competitively. It stinks if you're one of the folks who invested in the franchise because you lived in the neighborhood and it seemed like the right thing to do. It stinks if you want to commit to the local squad and current ownership says it has no intention of divesting. And it stinks because the sell-offs probably will start again in a few years, or about the time hope returns, beginning with Giancarlo Stanton. Stinks, stinks, stinks.
Other than that, helluva trade.
In a statement that hinted at his misgivings but amounted to a shrug and an eye-roll, Selig on Monday green-lighted the 12-player deal between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. After teetering for years near the law and spirit of revenue sharing boundaries, the Marlins have acted so reprehensibly that a simple (if far-reaching) transaction required comment from their sport's commissioner. That alone would be humiliation enough for most franchises, but, as we've noted before, the Marlins are quite immune to such human frailties.
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While the Marlins continue to act in the best interest of their personal portfolios, the trade – in a vacuum – was reasonable by baseball standards. No one has said otherwise. And so with a huff and a sigh, Selig announced what wasn't a decision at all.
"I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they … are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of," Selig said in a statement.
So, going forward, he has their word. For whatever that's worth.
Club ownership and management have argued that the Marlins finished in last place with stars and their contracts, and therefore a change in direction was necessary. But, they traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante as a 45-51 team. Disappointing, sure. Last place? No. Indeed, two weeks before, the Marlins were 41-42. Still disappointing. Still not a last-place team, even with Stanton in the midst of a month-long stay on the disabled list. Two days after moving Sanchez and Infante, the Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate, thereby securing the roster that would bring them last place, and fire their manager, and induce the fire sale that would finish the gutting of the ballclub and darken their bottom line.
Any hope Marlins fans had for Selig to halt the trade and restore the dignity of their franchise died Monday, so again that's on Jeffrey Loria and David Samson. Selig didn't have a choice. Loria and Samson do. We'll see where that gets the Marlins.
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