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Click on We're Watching, Jeffrey for today's latest column by me. It is on the Marlins and how MLB and the commissioner's office should be watching and insisting that club owner Jeffrey Loria fulfill his obligation to a competitive payroll. Also, thanks again to ESPN's Outside The Lines for having us on yesterday to talk about the Marlins mess. Click here to listen. I come in around one-third in.
MARLINS BETRAY, ANGER FANS WITH MASSIVE SALARY DUMP: The most unenviable job in South Florida today? How about the marketing rep trying to sell Marlins season-tickets. Does it ever end with this Marlins regime led by owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson? Can this ownership/management go even a full year without alienating its battered fan base? This week the news broke -- broke like Marlins fans' hearts -- that the club had traded shortstop Jose Reyes (left), starter Josh Johnson (right), starter Mark Buerhle, utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to Toronto in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar, starter Henderson Alavrez and four minor-leaguers. Escobar is pretty good, but this deal is a plain salary dump, plundering the Marlins from a roster/talent standpoint but saving money. Losing Buck is no big deal, but losing Johnson/Buerhle guts the starting rotation, and losing Reyes/Bonifacio guts the top of the order and the team's speed. The deal was so shocking that Giancarlo Stanton -- the team's last star standing -- couldn't help but Tweet, "Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & simple." (Note the three exclamation points). New manager Mike Redmond, who last managed a Single-A team, must feel like he is suddenly back on that level. The only hedge here is that the Marlins might now use much of this saved money -- along with the $$$ saved by earlier dumping Hanley Ramirez -- to make a splash in free agency. But has this regime earned that benefit of doubt? It has not. Loria and company promised competitive payrolls and a commitment to winning in exchange for the new stadium. That is why this feels like a betrayal. The people in charge of the Marlins must rebuild something approaching a major-league roster. Even more daunting, those same people must win back the trust of fans in the wake of this latest astonishing betrayal of faith. Share your thoughts on this Marlins trade in our new poll, and tell us why you voted as you did.
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