User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Marlins' latest payroll purge prompts fan backlash

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

MIAMI (AP) - The attendance-challenged Miami Marlins have antagonized fans yet again by deciding a low-budget team is good enough for their new ballpark.

Advertisement
A blockbuster trade sending three stars to Toronto could save Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria $150 million, which prompted a backlash from South Floridians angered by the team's latest payroll purge.

``Everybody in the world wants to talk about the Marlins and the fact they're now a Triple-A team,'' said city commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who was an opponent of the ballpark project. ``The Marlins have lost pretty much all credibility with fans. Even if this trade is a positive move from a baseball standpoint, it won't be viewed by the general public as a positive move.''

Miami traded All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and right-hander Josh Johnson as part of the deal, which awaited final approval Wednesday pending physicals for the players. Among the players the Blue Jays gave up were shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez and several top minor league prospects.

Many fan complaints involved the ballpark, which was paid for mostly with taxpayer money as Loria promised a new era of higher payrolls and more competitive teams. The ballpark opened this year and is state of the art, but the team suddenly is looking like the same old Marlins.

Loria declined to talk with reporters as he passed through the hotel lobby at the owners meetings in Chicago.

``Not today, boys,'' he said. ``If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not going to figure it out for you.''

Team president David Samson said the trade improved the Marlins, who have finished last in the NL East each of the past two years. This season they expected to contend for the playoffs with the highest payroll in franchise history but instead went 69-93, their worst record since 1999.

``We sat down after the season and talked about the team and said we cannot keep finishing in last place,'' Samson said on his weekly radio show on WINZ-AM. ``We found a way to possibly in one fell swoop get a whole lot better. I recognize that the names coming back in a potential trade are not names people are familiar with, but in the baseball world, people are familiar with them.''

When asked about fans feeling betrayed, Samson said, ``I think that people should feel betrayed by the fact we're losing so much, and that they wouldn't want us to stand pat and keep losing.''

Samson's description of the roster shakeup as an upgrade failed to mollify fans. Radio talk show host Jeff DeForrest began fielding calls from irate listeners shortly after news of the trade broke Tuesday.

``The next move obviously is to have Fidel Castro throw out the first pitch next year,'' DeForrest said. ``That's the only way they could alienate the fans more than they have.''

Castro became a source of acrimony last April, when Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's praise of the former Cuban leader infuriated team supporters. That was shortly after the new ballpark opened in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, and attendance never recovered from the tempest.

Management had projected the rebranded team would win and draw nearly 3 million fans, but instead the Marlins were out of contention by midseason, and attendance barely topped 2.2 million.

With revenue falling short of projections, Loria decided to end the franchise's brief era of big spending. The players traded by the Marlins have combined guaranteed salaries of $163.75 million through 2018, including $96 million due Reyes. The deals he and Buehrle signed when they joined Miami a year ago were heavily backloaded.

Salaries for 2013 include $13.75 million for Johnson in the final year of his contract, $11 million for Buehrle and $10 million for Reyes. The net in guaranteed salaries coming off the Marlins' books is expected to be $154 million, which does not account for any cash that may be involved in the trade.

Three years ago, the Marlins reached an agreement with the players' union to increase spending in the wake of complaints team payroll had been so small as to violate baseball's revenue sharing provisions. But the trade with Toronto leaves the Marlins with an estimated opening-day payroll of $34 million, which would be their lowest since 2008. Oakland had the lowest payroll in the majors last season at $59.5 million.

Of the lineup that took the field for the festive first game in the new ballpark less than eight months ago, only two players remain - Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison.

Stanton tweeted that he was angry about the trade and changed his Twitter photo in an apparent protest, swapping out his Marlins uniform for a black shirt.

``I'm not saying fans can't be upset,'' Morrison tweeted to his 123,000 followers. ``I'm saying I'm not going to get upset. I can't control it. So don't expect me to be upset.''

---

AP Sports Writers Ron Blum in New York and Jay Cohen in Chicago contributed to this report.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Mariners acquire OF Ruggiano from Cubs
Romo close to new deal with Giants
Morrow, Padres agree to 1-year deal
Indians' 2B Kipnis has finger surgery
Morse and Marlins finalize 2-year contract
Yankees hope A-Rod can be full-time DH
Shortstop Jed Lowrie returns to Houston
Guilty plea set in smuggling of Puig
Rangers sign Japanese reliever Fujikawa
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2014 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 6791
Kevin Rogers + 4352
Doc's Sports + 4139
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
James Manos + 2894
Kevin Rogers + 2335
Dave Cokin + 2015
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Tony Stoffo + 2080
Antony Dinero + 1208
Doc's Sports + 643
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 2387
Doc's Sports + 2027
Kyle Hunter + 1852
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2132
Antony Dinero + 1807
Joe Nelson + 1100
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 2845
Kevin Rogers + 2159
Doc's Sports + 1745
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
2014 VI College Bowl Betting Guide