Now that commissioner Bud Selig has signed off on the 12-player trade between Miami and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Marlins face a major damage-control task with their fans and their star player.
"I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard," Selig said in a statement Nov. 19 when the mega-deal was finalized.
It's the third major trade by the Marlins since 1998 in which the team jettisoned popular players to the dismay of the fan base. The latest so-called "fire sale" might be worse because it comes after the first season in the team's new $515 million, publicly financed ballpark, which was supposed to make it possible for the Marlins to lock up players to long-term deals.
"Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park," Selig said.
"Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of."
Miami sent to Toronto established veterans Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck.
The Blue Jays sent the Marlins Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick and Anthony DeSclafani.
Marlins baseball operations chief Larry Beinfest, speaking publicly about the deal for the first time, said Nov. 19 that he hoped fans would understand that the moves were made because the team finished in last place two consecutive seasons.
"I think the fans are disappointed with the baseball we played last summer, regardless of the moves that we've made since then," Beinfest said.
"We didn't play well. And yes, we had some very recognizable names, and they are good players. There's no question about it. I'd be the last person to assign blame to any one person in this organization, whether it was a manager, a coach, a player, or a front-office (employee) to contribute to this. Somehow, we found a way, with the all-in approach, etc., to not get it done.
"I think the fans have every right to be concerned. I think they can be disappointed in the way that we played. I think they can be hopeful that we've done our job and that we're going to get better. That's what this is all about. This is about getting better. This isn't about payroll."
The team didn't bother to talk to right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, its franchise player, about the 12-player trade. Stanton has voiced his displeasure over the deal.
"I do not like this at all," he told MLB.com on Nov. 16. "This is the 'winning philosophy'? Then to say it's not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can't imagine how the city and the fans feel."
Beinfest said he understands Stanton's frustrations.
"I know he had relationships with these guys. I don't know that I have an appreciation for it. These guys live together, dress together, play together under the spotlight every night, and they build a different kind of bond. I'm sure it's been tough for him," Beinfest said.
"Our feeling was to maybe let the dust settle a little bit, maybe let some of the emotion go away and we can get to Giancarlo and talk about getting to spring training with some of his new teammates. I hear it. I hear the frustration. It's not unexpected."