Can Jeffrey Loria Reshape His Image Around Baseball?
All around baseball when people hear the name Jeffrey Loria, many think of a man who is a liar and a scoundrel. Loria who was well known for basically eliminating the Montreal Expos from baseball, and for many fire sales in his tenure as owner, may have a short window to reshape his image around the game.
In 2012, the Marlins entered into a new ballpark with a new name, new uniforms, and a new team. Loria wanted to do something special for the city as he signed multiple top free-agents like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. However the 2012 season turned out to be a horrifying 162 games for Miami. The Marlins traded pitcher Anibal Sanchez and 2nd baseman Omar Infante in the middle of the year. They also traded Hanley Ramirez to the dodgers and washed the rest of the team up in a fire-sale trade with the Blue Jays. The trade sent All-star shortstop Reyes to the Blue Jays along with pitchers Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck, and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio. Not only did they trade away the high paid free agents, but they also traded young inexpensive talent for no reason. Miami received infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechevarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafini and Justin Nicolino, catcher Jeff Mathis and outfielder Jake Marisnick. Escobar was quickly traded to the Tampa Bay Rays within two weeks for then minor-league infielder Derek Dietrich. Dietrich has been a surprising young star for the Marlins so far and will compete for a starting job next year to play second base. Meanwhile, with the emergence of Marcell Ozuna, Marisnick was dealt at the trade deadline this past season to eliminate the outfield cluster. Marisnick was traded to the Houston Astros along with infielder Colin Moran for a young controllable starting pitcher in Jarred Cosart, infielder Enrique Hernandez, and outfield prospect Austin Wates.
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Did the fire sale work? At first, many were disappointed and questioned the management of the Miami Marlins. Nevertheless, some parts have seemed to work out greatly. Adeiny Hechevarria will be entering his third year as the starting Marlins shortstop. Henderson Alvarez was an All-Star in 2014 and has proved to be a top to mid of the rotation starter in the big leagues. Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino are two young arms that have shown success in the minors and plan to fight for rotation spots next year in spring training. Finally, Jeff Mathis coming from Toronto was arguably the most underrated part of the deal. Mathis has shown to be an excellent backup catcher for Miami and has been regarded as one of the leaders in the clubhouse. His presence and knowledge of the game have impacted many of the young stars on this Marlins club.
In 2014, the Marlins were a playoff contender most of the year, and improved in the win column by 15 games and was characterized as a successful season. Coming into 2015, the Marlins wanted to extend Giancarlo Stanton to a long term deal and keep him a Marlin for as long as possible. A deal was agreed on, as Miami inked Stanton to a 13 year $325 million dollar contract. Many viewed this as a surprise around baseball, as the Marlins management team has been known to sell instead of buy for many years.
In Stanton’s press conference, Jeffrey Loria was asked about the events in 2012. Loria replied by stating that the organization wanted to do something special for the community, but it did not go as planned. On the trades and direction of the organization, Loria said
“I pushed the reset button, and it wasn’t popular, and I didn’t care…” – Jeffrey Loria
He then went on and said that these changes needed to have been made and the team is now in the right direction. One should have to agree with him. The Marlins played their best baseball since 2009 when they finished the year in second place.
Nov 19, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielderGiancarlo Stanton
(right) watches as Marlins owner Jeffery Loria (left) signs Stanton
2015 looks bright for the Miami Marlins. They started their off-season well by signing Stanton to the long term deal and plan to surround him with proven talent, in hopes to be a constant contender for years to come. The deal that everyone criticized for a long time, has finally shown that Loria knew what he was doing when deciding to trade his star players. His team is in the right direction and signing a couple of star free agents and getting his team to the postseason can reshape his image around baseball. As stated before, the Marlins owner knew many wouldn’t understand the deal at the time, but he didn’t care, he knew it was right, and it has now been proven.
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