Being traded after only one season in Miami isn’t sitting well with Mark Buehrle. The pitcher and his agent fired a parting shot at the Marlins, saying team officials lied to him about his future in South Florida.
“Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions,” the 34-year-old pitcher said Wednesday in a written statement.
Buehrle was one of five players traded by the Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’m upset with how things turned out in Miami,” Buehrle said.
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Buehrle signed a four-year, $58 million contract in January. But the Marlins, per team policy, refused to grant him no-trade protection that would have allowed him to veto any deals he didn’t like.
Still, sources said Buehrle was assured by owner Jeffrey Loria that, despite the absence of a no-trade clause, he need not worry. The team had no intention of trading him.
“Throughout the recruiting process, the Marlins made repeated assurances about their long-term commitment to Mark and his family and their long-term commitment to building a tradition of Marlins baseball in the new stadium,” said Buehrle’s agent, Jeff Berry, in a prepared statement.
Buehrle isn’t the only traded player who felt blindsided. Shortstop Jose Reyes was also caught off guard by the trade. Like Buehrle, Reyes signed a heavily backloaded, long-term contract that did not include no-trade protection. Yet Reyes also received assurances that he would not be dealt.
“He was told many times he wasn’t going anywhere,” said Reyes’ agent, Chris Leible.
Leible declined to say who gave those assurances.
The agent of one former Marlins player said Loria assured his client not to worry about the absence of no-trade protection in his contract. David Sloane, who represented Carlos Delgado when he was negotiating the slugger’s contract with the Marlins in 2005, said Delgado expressed concern about not having the ability to block trades, a feature many star free agents receive when they sign new deals.
According to Sloane, Loria told Delgado: “If you play like you have in the past and I trade you, the fans will hang me in front of the stadium.”
Delgado, who ultimately signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Marlins, had a standout season and finished sixth in National League Most Valuable Player voting. But he was traded to the New York Mets after one season.
“He wasn’t happy about it,” Sloane said.
Responding to Buehrle’s comments, Marlins president David Samson said on his weekly radio show on 790 The Ticket, “I’m as sorry as he was that he was traded. I’m not happy either. He was never lied to.”
Said Berry: “This is unquestionably a business and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Marlins.”
Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.