Giancarlo is Here to Stay... for now

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Jon Heyman/CBSSports:
Beinfest wouldn't address whether Stanton might be traded, but other people with Marlins connections say he absolutely will be a Marlin in 2013. And executives from other teams who have inquired agree they see zero evidence Stanton might be moved.
I'm sure you're all as skeptical as we are, but frankly it would be hard to offer the Marlins a package worth trading Stanton, an amazing hitter who is under club control for the next four years.

But that doesn't mean the Marlins won't try to deal him in 2014, or 2015, or even during the 2016 season (his last before he becomes a free agent). As was the case with Miguel Cabrera six years ago, the question with Stanton is when - not if - the Marlins will deal him.

Enjoy Sr. #Monsterdong while you can...


Something to Spoil the Post-Thanksgiving Good Vibes

Friday, November 23, 2012

Via Flip Flop Fly Ball's Instagram page.


We Don't Care About Mark Buehrle's Feelings

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mark Buehrle:
"I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami," Buehrle's statement read. "Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career."
Gee, if only there were some kind of contractual clause that blocks a team from trading him that his agent could have negotiated for last winter...

If a no-trade assurance was that important to Buehrle (and Reyes), then he should have demanded a no-trade clause. To expect Marlins management (who had executed a fire sale only a few years prior) to actually stick to a no-trade assurance is beyond deluded.


It's Official

Monday, November 19, 2012

MLB has approved the trade with the Blue Jays, and the Marlins made the official announcement. Bud Selig (not surprisingly) did not block the trade:
MLB commissioner Bud Selig said last week that he would review the trade, but he decided against blocking the deal. "This transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs (and) does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion," Selig said in a statement.
Miami gets the following players:
So long, JJ (and the other dudes in the trade: Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck. Ted and I mostly care about losing Johnson). This one's for you:


You Wouldn't Like Giancarlo When He's Angry

So much for that "all this money the Marlins are saving can go towards a long-term deal for Giancarlo Stanton" silver lining...
"I do not like this at all," Stanton said days after Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and others were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for spare parts and minor leaguers.

"They talked about that, a winning philosophy, and how they were building a winner to play in the new ballpark," he continued, referring to the spending spree before the 2012 season that brought Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell to South Florida. "They talked about how they'd have Jose and [Emilio Bonifacio] and Hanley [Ramirez] in front of me and how they would go get a bat to protect me. Jose, Bonifacio, Hanley ... all three are gone now."
Stanton has four years left on his initial contract, so there is plenty of time for detente, but I'm guessing the Marlins will have to do a lot to regain their credibility with him (if that is even possible). I totally understand his frustration, though. It is hard to justify extending a contract with a club that is unlikely to keep its long-term promises. I'm going to enjoy watching Sr. Monsterdong while I can, but be totally prepared for the day when he leaves, voluntarily or not.

I have less sympathy for Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, who reportedly are upset that (SHOCKINGLY!) the Marlins reneged on verbal no-trade promises. Don't these guys have agents? Who can negotiate things like no-trade clauses? It's hard to see why anyone would trust the words of Jeffrey Loria or David Samson, but Reyes and Buehrle did for some reason. Buy another expensive car, Jose, you'll feel better.

Images via


Must-See TV

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Of course this trade got the Taiwanese animation treatment:

Best quote: "Loria is worse than [former Dodgers owner Frank] McCourt, but MLB still lets him own a team."


The Finances of a Fire Sale

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

(Note: for a solid baseball analysis of the Marlins' blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, see Fish Stripes. We will focus on the business side of this deal).

The Miami Marlins made their business strategy quite clear when they shipped half their remaining 2012 starters to the Toronto Blue Jays for prospects and spare parts: Cut payroll costs to the bone and reap profits from MLB revenue sharing and other MLB cash streams.

Back in April, I wrote the following about the Marlins' new stadium for NBCMiami:
Since the Marlins are the sole tenant, and no longer have to pay rent to the Dolphins ownership group (which also owns Sun Life Stadium), the team will get to keep more of the ticket sales, concession and parking receipts from their home games than ever before. The Marlins will also get added revenue from hosting events at the stadium when baseball is not being played.

The promise of this extra money allowed the front office to go on a spending spree this winter, handing a $106 million contract to superstar shortstop Jose Reyes and significant deals to Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. Those additions created even more buzz for the team heading into 2012, leading to a spike in ticket sales that will give the team even more revenue to spend on its roster.

This feedback loop has overnight transformed the Marlins franchise from a penny-pinching punchline to a major-market heavyweight that can compete with its rivals in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta for big-ticket free agents and attention from the national media.
The team's struggles to compete proved that buying wins is not as easy as it looks, but the Marlins have opted to change course rather than reassess their personnel strategy. As a result, the team is looking at a few years of attendance that will make the late-1990s look like a golden age. Here is why they will profit regardless.

First, let's look at how much salary got dumped by the Marlins:

Yunel Escobar is the highest paid player the Marlins received. He will make $5 million in 2013, with team options for the same amount in 2014 and 2015. Jeff Mathis is arbitration eligible (he made $1.5 million in 2012) and will be a free agent next year. The rest are players under club control (pre-arbitration), they will make less than $1 million each next season. With big-bucks players like Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell already gone (and Ricky Nolasco potentially on his way out as well), it is quite possible that the Marlins will open 2013 with a payroll well below $30 million.

You'll remember that a few years ago Deadspin leaked the Marlins' financial report for 2008 and 2009. I took another look at the team's balance sheet, income statement, and notes to back out a rough estimate of the team's operating profit in 2013. This is a good time to point out I made a number of assumptions, which will be detailed below.

The Marlins netted average revenue sharing proceeds of $46 million per year in 2008 and 2009, along with $31 million in MLB Central Fund revenue and $8 million in MLB properties royalties, for a total of $85 million in MLB (or non-Marlins) revenue. Stadium and television revenue (both numbers which are surely higher now, though by what degree is hard to estimate*) came in at roughly $40 million. Operating expenses excluding player salaries averaged $75 million in those years, with debt expense of $5.5 million. That gives the Marlins $45.5 million to work with: keep player payroll below that level, and the difference (less taxes) is all profit. Even with crappy attendance, a Marlins team with payroll in the $30 million range is highly profitable (we're disregarding noncash expenses like depreciation and amortization for simplicity).

One perspective that has been bandied about goes thusly: the team spent a lot of money on personnel in 2012, didn't win many games, and did not draw many fans either (no team had a lower attendance in the first season of a new stadium in the past 20 years, the Marlins' 2.2 million fans were 18th in MLB this season). If breaking the bank doesn't work (from a baseball and financial perspective), why pay millions to Reyes, Johnson, et al to lose? This makes financial sense in the short term, but less sense in the long term (the Marlins' brand equity was barely positive to begin with, it is under water now). How does the team expect to cultivate a fan base after such a fire sale?

Another blog (I've forgotten which one) compared the 2013 Marlins to The Producers: an intentional flop meant to make a quick buck. This is apt. The Marlins can profit without competing so long as they keep payroll low (the Kansas City Royals have been doing this for years). This was the team's strategy in the years leading up to the opening of Marlins Park; it is 100% more insidious now that they have opened a new stadium financed largely by local governments. The fans are legitimately outraged, and calls for Loria to sell the team are entirely justified.

There is only one problem: as The Biz of Baseball points out, Loria will have to pay the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County a ton of money if he sells the team in the next 6 years, so a sale is not imminent.

We are stuck with Loria, that is, if we even want to be Marlins fans anymore. That, more than the trade itself, is the saddest part of this entire episode.

Image via the one and only Adam Smoot
*Stadium revenue for those years was depressed by the bum deal the team was getting from Dolphin Stadium. Even if their attendance falls back to 2008-2009 levels or lower, the Marlins will keep more of those fan dollars spent at the stadium than they did a few years ago since they don't have to share revenues with the Miami Dolphins (who own Dolphin Stadium).



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We're going to leave it at that for now. See our Twitter feed for more hand-wringing and feelings and stuff.


This is getting ugly

Here's what we know now:

  • Gone are Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson (SOBS ALL AROUND, YOU GUYS), Emilio Bonifacio (fine with that), and John Buck (SILVER LINING)
  • In are Yunel Escobar and a bunch of minor leaguers (who cares?)
  • The deal has not been finalized, but those reporting on the situation (Fox and ESPN) do not expect MLB to void it.
Reiterating some points made on Twitter: The Marlins don't need fans to turn a profit, thanks to MLB revenue sharing (provided they keep their payroll low, which obvi won't be a problem). 

Is this the worst fire sale in history? I say the 1997 salary dump was much worse (no one is breaking up a pennant-winner right now), but that debate is purely academic. 


Drink up, everyone, and enjoy basketball season, since that's the only sports-related joy South Floridians can count on for the foreseeable future.


Actual Fire Sale Alert!

Whelp, this won't end well:

I don't wish to revisit this summer's "Is this a fire sale?" argument, but that's no longer necessary. If Buehrle and JJ are being dealt, then we are without a doubt going through a fire sale that will make 2005 look like peanuts. Stay tuned...



Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanks for the support, y'all!


Happy Birthday Giancarlo

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Giancarlo Stanton's birthday, so here's some special Giancarlo-themed FAP material for you, our loyal readers:

Happy birthday, Giancarlo!


It's Redmond Time

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Marlins have once again ignored my pleas to forego hiring a manager. The team has tabbed former Marlin Mike Redmond to steer the ship:

Redmond, 41, was signed to a 3-year contract that runs through the 2015 season, the team announced in a statement. The details of his salary were unknown.
We'll have more to say about this soon.


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