Miami Marlins: The Miami baseball environment has become toxic

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 06: A general view of Marlins Park during Opening Day between the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves on April 6, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 06: A general view of Marlins Park during Opening Day between the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves on April 6, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Miami Marlins selloff is drawing a lot of negative attention, as expected. It begs the question, is Miami the least desired place to play baseball in the country?

The Miami Marlins new ownership knew what they were getting in to when they bought the team. They were aware of the debt they’d be inheriting, and had a plan to get out from under it. At no point did that plan included keeping the team together.

The wanted to build organization depth. The best players in their system were already at the Major League level, and were only winning 77-games a year. With a weak starting pitching rotation, they were going to have to spend big in free agency to compete.

New ownership didn’t want to do that. Instead, they’ve parted ways with every valuable piece of their roster. The only exceptions being Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto.

Now reports indicate that they want out as well. Strange as it might seem, sunny South Florida is the least desirable place to play baseball in America.

The advantages are plenty. And practical. The Miami Marlins enjoy warm weather all year. They play in a brand new, retractable roof ballpark. Nightlife, all that. To top it all off, no state income tax; more dollars in the pockets of the players.

And yet, nobody wants to play in gleaming new Marlins Park. After the Derek Jeter era selloff, Miami couldn’t be less desirable.

Never mind free agency. The Miami Marlins won’t be active on the free agent market in any significant way this offseason. But it isn’t hard to imagine that interest in signing with them would be very low.

The Marlins are likely going to lose 100 games in 2018. Unless it’s the only paycheck they’re going to get, athletes will be hesitant to give away a year of their healthy body.

Keeping players in house

It’s certainly easy to understand why the best players remaining in Miami want out. Christian Yelich hasn’t formally asked for a trade, but it’s believed that he doesn’t want to remain with the team while they rebuild.

On Monday morning, franchise cornerstone incumbent J.T. Realmuto alerted the team that he’d interested in being traded. Reports say that he hasn’t formally asked for a trade either.

The Miami Marlins took for granted the way the current players on their roster were going to feel after the sell off. Or perhaps they weren’t concerned to begin with . The players have no contractual ability to force a trade.

All the same, while trading Giancarlo Stanton, Derek Jeter told reporters that it’s best not to have a player on the team if they don’t want to be there.

The decision rests squarely in the hands of Derek Jeter

There is reasonable optimism that the Miami Marlins will be a very good baseball team in time; likely two-or-three years. By then, Christian Yelich will be 29-years old, Realmuto will be 30.

It’s no surprise that high-caliber players want to play meaningful games while in their prime.

Next: Marlins not done with Giancarlo Stanton trade yet

What Derek Jeter is endeavoring to do is a culture change in Miami. Much like the roster, he’s looking to build something entirely new. It’s going to result in some stink; some toxic stink.

There is no way of knowing whether he’ll be good at what he’s doing or not. He was a legendary baseball player, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a great baseball front office executive. Only time will tell if the trades he’s made were good, or bad.

Jeter believers he’s doing what is best for the organization. He believes his “unpopular decisions” are for the greater good, and will help make Miami into the baseball destination that Major League Baseball envisioned.

Everyone certainly hopes so.

Until then, toxicity festers.