If Mark Buehrle wanted to move to Toronto he would have invested in fur coats, but he wanted to move to Miami, so he invested in bathing suits and Hawaiian shirts. His big mistake was not squeezing a no-trade clause out of the Miami Marlins when he signed a four-year, $58 million deal as a free agent last year. His second biggest mistake was believing whatever owner Jeffrey Loria told him.
Surely Loria’s pitch to woo the southpaw off the free agent market included such comments as, “We have a new stadium. We have your old manager. We are trying to win right away.”
A few days ago Buehrle said he felt he had been lied to by the Marlins because they had indicated a long-term commitment to him. Since Marlins fans also feel lied to, he’s probably right. The general reaction might be, “Take a number” to complain since millions of people in South Florida feel ripped off, too. In Buehrle’s case, long-term commitment, trying to win right away (beyond last season) and having his old manager onboard, are no longer true. The Marlins do have a year-old stadium. They no longer have Ozzie Guillen as manager and now they are building for the future, a future that probably begins around 2020 when Buehrle will be like 40.
The Miami fallout seems likely to continue for some time after the gutting of the roster by Mr. Impatience. No, the Marlins did not play well in 2012 after Loria invested zillions of dollars to win right this minute. But you can’t always get what you want and if Loria had tried to tweak the roster, with or without the return of Guillen to run the show, instead of guting the foundation to start all over again he would be a lot closer to winning a National League East division title or pennant than he is today.
So Hanley Ramirez is in Los Angeles, Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck and Josh Johnson are in Toronto, and the Marlins have a roster flooded with names nobody knows. Poor Giancarlo Stanton, the star of the future in Miami, is likely stewing at home asking, “Why didn’t they trade me?”
Any faint hope that Marlins fans had that commissioner Bud Selig would intervene and halt the 12-player trade with the Blue Jays for the good of the game evaporated just before Thanksgiving when despite misgivings about how low the Marlins payroll could go, he approved the deal that sent a bunch of prospects to Miami. In a generous assessment, Selig said that the trade constituted “plausible baseball judgment.” That’s giving a lot of credit to the prospects since on the surface it appears the Marlins were robbed.
For now the Marlins have the lowest payroll in baseball and they already appear doomed to finish in last place in a season that doesn’t begin for more than four months. It surely doesn’t seem likely that any other prominent free agents would want to sign with the Marlins any time soon. For Buehrle, who knows he is one of the worst hitters in the game, one side benefit of being swapped to Toronto is that it returns him to the American League where he can count on the designated hitter keeping him out of the batter’s box too often.
On second thought, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that Buehrle didn’t get that no-trade clause in his contract. Would you want to stay in Miami the way things are shaping up?