Miami Marlins: It’s time to forgive Jeffrey Loria
Jeffrey Loria is an American art dealer and Yale graduate, but he is commonly known as the Miami Marlins’ controversial owner. Loria, as you may know, has had a lot of negatives linked to him throughout his career.
In 1999, Loria purchased a 24% stake into the Montreal Expos for $18 million CAD which was an equivalent at the time to $12 million U.S. dollars. After many cash calls went unanswered Loria ended up with nearly 94% of the Expos.
After Loria was unable to get a new stadium in Montreal, many of the Expos fans got mad at him. In 2002, Loria sold the Expos to the commissioners office for $120 million. Alex Henry, then-Marlins owner sold Loria the Florida Marlins for $158 million. Loria quickly had success in Miami, and in 2003, his Marlins defeated the New York Yankees in six games to win the franchise’s second World Series title, giving Loria his first championship as an owner.
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Throughout his tenure with the Marlins Loria has been known for salary dumping his players. He gets his fans hopes up by signing a star player to a big contract only to trade them before their contract is even over with the team. Examples of this would be Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes. Fans in Miami first started to lose their trust in Loria when he dismantled the 2003 World Championship team, trading Series MVP Josh Beckett and fan favorite third baseman Mike Lowell to the Boston Red Sox for prospects. Jeffrey was also known for failing to extend contracts of his good young players, resulting in him trading Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for more prospects.
Loria officially lost the respect of the fans when he got the city of Miami to agree to build him a new stadium in Little Havana. Part of the agreement was that Loria had to be willing to spend the money to put a winning team on the field. Which he did, but that team badly failed.
In the offseason before moving into the new park, Loria inked All-Stars Heath Bell, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to lucrative contracts. The Marlins looked like a good team on paper heading into the 2012 season but they did not live up to the potential, which led to Loria conducting another salary dump. This time it started with then-face of the franchise, Hanley Ramirez, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi. The Marlins finished in last place with a 69-93 record.
Call to the Pen
During that offseason, Loria put the final touches on the club’s third fire sale by sending Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for (mostly) prospects.
Now, fast forward two seasons later. It’s 2015 and it’s time for the city of Miami and the Marlins to forgive Jeffrey Loria. He seems finally commited to sustaining a winning franchise for years to come. This offseason he focused much less on the baseball side of things and just let his front office go to work. Loria gave out the highest contract in North American sports history to star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. He also extended his other star outfielder Christian Yelich. At the Winter Meetings he gave his front office the go-ahead to go out and trade for players like All-Star 2nd baseman Dee Gordon and a solid starting pitcher in Mat Latos.
Loria wants a winning team just as badly as the fans do.
The Jeffrey Loria of five years ago wouldn’t have made these moves. He would’ve traded Stanton for cheap prospects. Loria has done enough this off-season to earn your forgiveness. He is committed to winning and has made a team that is ready to compete for years.
If Loria can turn the corner, so can you. It’s time to forgive Jeffrey Loria.
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