The Marlins might still be the same old Marlins even after Jeffrey Loria goes away
Incoming Marlins owners are planning to slash payroll, and that may mean a trade of Giancarlo Stanton
Once the group publicly fronted by Derek Jeter completes its purchase of the Miami Marlins, some unpopular decisions may soon follow. Here's the scoop from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
In fact, a potential investor who was specifically briefed by the Bruce Sherman/Jeter group this summer said they spoke of a payroll being pulled back from $115 million to potentially as low as $55 million (if Giancarlo Stanton is traded) or $80 million to $85 million if Stanton is retained at $25 million next season.
The future of Stanton in Miami is of course the major subplot. He's signed to a mammoth 13-year, $325 million contract, and that deal includes an opt-out after the 2020 season, which pretty much puts all of the risk on the club. Given Stanton's legendary performance this season the Marlins' status as fringe wild-card contenders, an in-season deal isn't going to happen. However, an offseason trade of Stanton is looking more and more like a real possibility.
Needless to say, dealing away Stanton would be wildly unpopular among Marlins fans, who've been jaded over the years by sell-offs and a poorly located ballpark built on the backs of taxpayers. Also, note those potential figures above -- those are deep cuts, not trimming around the edges. If Stanton stays, then other recognizable names will go instead. That, in turn, would make in unlikely that the Marlins can contend around Stanton, which, in turn, would make him even more restless in Miami. Either way, having Jeter in the owner's box -- as tantalizing as that sounds in theory -- won't provide Marlins fans with much in the way of a desired new direction, at least in the early going.
As Jackson notes, these decisions will flow from the team's spotty revenues. You don't need to believe that the Marlins are losing money -- they probably aren't, despite claims to the contrary -- to recognize that they're not well positioned to run high payrolls. Again, it's a fan base that's been taken for granted time and time again, and it's a team playing in a ballpark that's not readily accessible and in a region with perhaps not high level of baseball enthusiasm. Trimming notables from the roster would dim the already dim enthusiasm, and the cycle spins on.
Another issue has been the lavish salaries that Marlins executives have paid themselves. According to Jackson's story, that may not change with Jeter in charge of baseball ops.
In other words, the Marlins are still going to be the Marlins even after Jeffrey Loria mercifully goes away.
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