No. 29 Marlins: Management ineptitude dooms franchise for foreseeable future

Jeff Passan
Yahoo Sports
Editor’s note: Yahoo! Sports will examine the offseason of every MLB team before spring training begins in mid-February. Our series continues with the Florida Marlins.

2012 record: 69-93
Finish: Fifth place, NL East
2012 final payroll: $89.9 million
Estimated 2013 opening day payroll: $45 million
Yahoo! Sports offseason rank: 29th
Hashtags: #beavis #23rdstate #tollingoftheironbell #thirtysomething #comegetthemjacob #trademe #dumps #swindlers #totheguillotine #sadface

OFFSEASON ACTION

The naked hubris of the Miami Marlins' all-time fire sale, the sort that would satisfy a pyromaniac or, you know, Beavis, is even more appalling six weeks later. When two jesters masquerade as baseball executives and strike deals that have every right to be struck down by the commissioner, they do not belong in the sport. Send Jeffrey Loria back to the art world, David Samson back to Morgan Stanley and sanity back to a franchise that so desperately needs it.

The first Bic flick was dealing Heath Bell for a minor league shortstop with 80 errors in 159 career games – a good deal, actually, because Bell had metastasized in the Marlins' clubhouse, and he couldn't return.

The Marlins skipped the dumpster fires, the mid-sized conflagrations, the towering bonfires and went straight to some burn-down-the-forest action. Trading Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck and the more than $150 million guaranteed to them proved the Marlins more than crooks who swindled a stadium out of a city by denying the truth about their finances. It made them cowards, the sort who take advantage of a sport that grants its owners the ability to pawn off mistakes for which it never should have paid in the first place.

Coming back are starter Henderson Alvarez, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and others on whom the Marlins can dream, for that is what Loria and Samson, by insisting on this trade, have made the Marlins: something so absurd it can't be real. This is a team that counts as its offseason highlights signing 35-year-old Juan Pierre to play left field every day and 37-year-old Placido Polanco to man third base. Among that, the team's apparent coastal solidarity (it signed Scott Maine and John Maine) and the many other follies of the Marlins, indeed this offseason was ripe with action.

Sad to say, but it would've been far more successful had they gone the route of inaction.

REALITY CHECK

The reality, beyond the disingenuous owners whose lies fleeced the taxpayers off of whom they now feast, isn't all that bad, at least when viewing it through a crystal ball. The centerpiece of the Marlins for now is Giancarlo Stanton, the 23-year-old outfielder with showstopping power and enough of a desire to win that his greater instincts scream what he cannot publicly: Out. Please, for all that is holy, get me out of this cauldron of incompetence.

If only Loria would leave the Marlins alone. Following a half-decade of lean drafting years, top baseball man Larry Beinfest struck with Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez in back-to-back drafts, and they're now top 20 prospects. The sort who can join Hechavarria and the other two top prospects from the deal, lefty Justin Nicolino and outfielder Jake Marisnick. Plus pitchers Jacob Turner (Anibal Sanchez dump), Nate Eovaldi (Hanley Ramirez dump) and last year's first-round pick, Andrew Heaney.

In other words: This core could be good, and it's coming soon. Not soon enough to save the first season of manager Mike Redmond, who, if not for Polanco and Pierre, would be dealing with a prepubescent average clubhouse age. Nor soon enough to placate pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who has requested a trade, or Stanton, with whom so many can sympathize.

He is the sunshine in the Marlins' logo, the activator of their home run feature, the smiling face they use to sell a product in which the owners believe only because it makes them absurd amounts of money. The Marlins' brains work backward with this sort of thing. Trading all the veterans and their huge contracts was for flexibility, the sort they'll never use because they're too cheap. Trading Stanton, on the other hand, would be tantamount to giving up, even though they pretty much well did that already.

The Marlins' reality is actually best encapsulated in one world: sad. It's sad to see players wanting out. It's sad to see empty seats. It's sad to see how many don't care.

It's saddest that you can't blame any of 'em.

SAVIOR

There are but 30 managerial jobs in the big leagues, 30 opportunities to bend a club to your will and shape it in your image. And so even though he is a smart man, Mike Redmond fell for this forbidden fruit. He knows Loria will fire him at one point or another because he fancies himself a proto-Steinbrenner. Before that happens, Redmond hopes the cadre of kids arriving within the next two years helps him win and holds off his trip to the guillotine. It's coming. It always is in this job. Before it happens, though, he's got a job to do.

HAIKU

Please trade Loria
And his tiny henchman to
The island from Lost

View photo

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