The news coming out of the Marlins front office shouldn’t be a shock to most fans. Its being reported by Miami Herald beat writer Clark Spencer that owner Jeffrey Loria is now making all the baseball decisions for the organization. As vague as that is, with an anonymous major-league source cited, most Marlins fans don’t need anything to be confirmed. After the last eight years, its easier to trust the nameless baseball source than to give Loria the benefit of the doubt.
Since the middle of last season, the team has been going through another cycle of painful collapse on the field and off. The typical Marlins response sent most of the marquee players to Toronto. We were told there was going to be a rebuilding phase, with new young arms and new young bats. Jose Fernandez has been the unexpected bright spot, fulfilling his promise as top MLB prospect by turning in one of the best rookie pitching seasons in history. Off the field, the lid on this go-round of B.S. is starting to come off. It started from day one, when Deadspin produced an article describing the ejection of fans at the home opener protesting the Marlins brass.
There are tales of Loria meddling for absolutely arbitrary reasons, like the time he swapped Ricky Nolasco and Jose Fernandez in a double header because it might be too cold for the kid. ‘Owner Making Baseball Calls’ is the headline of choice for an ESPN blurb describing the current situation, summarizing the previously mentioned Miami Herald piece.
“He has marginalized the front office,” a source told the newspaper. “The front office isn’t making decisions. Loria makes them all.”
The Miami Herald article, which expands on the early report from Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports, includes a new tidbit. Rob Brantly hadn’t been performing well at the plate or behind the dish, but for some reason recommendations to send him down in May were ignored by Loria. It took another two months of abysmal numbers for the owner to cave and option Brantly to Triple A New Orleans.
“There’s not one move that happens that he doesn’t do,” the major-league source said. “That’s just how he operates the team. The team is run in this sort of backwards way.”
So what changed? Sure, Loria’s always been awful. Search his name, and Google Instant’s first suggestion is ‘Jeffrey Loria worst owner’. Rosenthal reports that his meddlesome ways began when his relationship with president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was fractured in 2009. Since then, stories have leaked describing Loria making baseball moves for non-baseball reasons. He’s behaved in ways that have simply reinforced what we all know: Jeffrey Loria is slimy and underhanded.
This season saw a desperate plea to fans. Rumors swirl about Beinfest getting fired, or team president David Samson being on the outs. This recent news simply confirms what’s been obvious for quite some time. Loria has taken a hands-on approach to this franchise with clear results for the masochistic fans that remain. The Marlins faithful can look forward to ending the season with a three-peat dead last NL East finish and an offseason plagued by nightmares of a Jose Fernandez/Giancarlo Stanton trade.