The Marlins gave up All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio. Reyes and Buehrle were acquired last off-season with much fanfare. In return, the team will receive shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, and three prospects.
By moving into a state-of-the-art stadium last spring, nearly doubling their payroll to $118 million, and hiring colorful manager Ozzie Guillen, the Marlins created buzz and high expectations. They traded three-time All-Star Hanley Ramirez during the season and continued to struggle. The team wound up 69-93, last-place in the NL East.
Guillen was fired. And then came the mega-trade. It wasnt the first time the Marlins had a fire sale. They made similar deals after the 1997 and 2003 World Series championship seasons. Loria was the owner in 2003.
The Marlins declined to comment on the Herald poll, but Loria said in a news release after the trade:
Weve finished in last place the past two years, and that is unacceptable to our fans, to us as an organization, and to me. We want to get back to our winning ways, and we want a winning baseball team for our fans. Its incumbent on us to make the changes necessary to make us a winner again.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig reviewed the trade, and accepted it. But he vowed to continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their club.
Selig went on: Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park.
Palmetto Bay resident Emily Demar and her family are diehard baseball fans. Her cousin is major leaguer Kevin Youkilis, the Gold Glove winner and longtime Boston Red Sox star who was traded to the Chicago White Sox last season. Her son, Scott, played baseball at Palmetto High and walked onto the team for a season at Indiana University.
The Demars have been loyal Marlins fans since the teams inception. They share a season-ticket package with a few friends and sit in the third row behind the visitors dugout.
Despite her love for baseball, Demar, one of the poll participants, is very unhappy with the Marlins.
We were never fans of the new ballpark, the use of public money or the location, she said by phone. So, we went into last season slanted, with doubts. And now, this trade, its deflating to everybody. It stinks. We know Loria doesnt want to lose a lot of money, but to get rid of Ozzie and all these players in the same year is too much. Why not see if the new manager can turn things around before getting rid of all those players?
Would Demars view of the team change if the lower-budget Marlins went on a win streak next season? Does she think even fans who are very bitter now will sweeten to the home team if the Ws start piling up?
Winning would certainly help, she said, but if they lose, the place will be empty.