Analyzing The Miami Marlins Fire Sale 8 Months Later


April 14, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria before a game against the Houston Astros at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In honor of the approaching trade deadline it feels right to take a moment to reexamine the trading spree that the Marlins embarked on after last season, mostly because the Marlins seem so unwilling to make any moves during this peak trading season.

After a disastrous 2012 campaign which saw Miami win only 69 games, Marlin’s owner Jeffrey Loria claimed that he could field a team that would win just as many games as 2012, with a fraction of the payroll.  More than 100 games into this season the Marlins are on pace to win 62 games however, they have played much better the last couple of months and those numbers could increase.  Even if the win total doesn’t match last year, it has been apparent that the many prospects that the Marlins have been forced to give playing time to will continue to improve.  A quick glance at the Toronto Blue Jays season so far finds them in the cellar of the American League East and dealing with under performance from some players from the trade, and injuries to others.  For that reason alone, Miami seems to be trending upward after the trade.

Another way that we can measure the results of the trade is by tracking the attendance change between this year and last.  Last year Miami averaged slightly more than 27,000 fans during their home games.  This number is not as impressive if you take into account that it was the inaugural year for Marlins Park.  Be that as it may, Marlins brass would certainly kill for those numbers now, as the attendance has dropped to a paltry 17,000 a night.  This number grants the Marlins the distinction of being the lowest home attendance in the majors.  It appears that the fans have spoken out about the trade and placed their money where their mouth is.

After the Marlins sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays, a story came out casting a disparaging light on the way that Loria handled the trade.  According to Reyes, just days before the trade, Loria inquired if Reyes had found a permanent home in Miami and encouraged him to keep looking.  Loria’s recollection of the conversation differs from Jose’s, but the damage has been done.  Many professionals will side with their fellow peer, a likable Jose Reyes, and view Loria as untrustworthy.  This will provide significant hurdles as Miami attempts to sign free agents going forward.  The Marlins have long-held to a policy of not agreeing to no-trade clauses in contracts.  This may need to change if they are to demonstrate to top-level  free agents that they are a trustworthy organization.  This is quite possibly the most damaging aspect of the trade as it may be some time before they can get a big name free agent to agree to a contract again without grossly overpaying.

What are your thoughts on the Marlins trading spree this past offseason?  After seeing any of the prospects up close, has your opinion of the trade changed at all?  Let us know what you think.