Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stanton signs, now stop complaining and go to the ballpark

The news is out. The Marlins have signed Giancarlo Stanton to a heavily backloaded 13-year, $325 million contract. Now I have always tried to take a contrarian view when it comes to the Marlins and their owner Jeffrey Loria. While most fans hate him, believing he's getting rich while keep the team talent poor I have a different take. I believe Jeffrey Loria is a relatively poor man in a rich man's sport. I believe he wants to win and would love to have excess cash to throw around but everything in history within the game has shown that he's literally had to beg, borrow and steal to get the franchise where it is today.

Let us remember that the fans demanded a better ballpark that kept them cool and dry in the hot rainy summer months and somehow he managed to pull it off. Can you pick some nits about the superficial details of the ballpark? Of course, but there's no denying it's a comfortable park with all the amenities a fan could ever want.

Now back to Stanton and this contract. Let me declare unequivocally that I believe the chances that Stanton will with be this club beyond 6 or 7 years is next to nil. And let me also state unequivocally that I'm fine with that.

It is clear that the modus operandi of this franchise is to build the team up every 4-5 years and attempt to make a run at the postseason. That means tearing it apart every 4-5 years. There is simply no other way that the Marlins can compete within the current financial scheme of Major League Baseball. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't match up to fan expectations, which are basically old fashioned. They see Derek Jeter retiring as a Yankee and they think that's the way it should be here. But Jeter is the exception, not the rule.

Jeffrey Loria's last attempt to build the club up culminated with some free agent signings that didn't work out. I think Loria wanted to strike while the iron was hot with the new ballpark and his previous gambles like signing Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez to a 1-year, $10 million contract (paid over 3 years, by the way) paid off, perhaps giving him a sense of invincibility. But let's be clear about the last bit of unloading of talent, the dealing of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle among others was NOT a fire sale. A fire sale is what happened in the offseason before 1998. The 2012 Marlins were an abomination.

To me the big question now is how the fans will respond. With Stanton signed and Jose Fernandez still under club control for a few years the Marlins have possibly the most exciting hitter and starting pitcher in the National League, if not all of baseball. This is no guarantee that that they'll make the playoffs or that injuries and other factors won't negatively influence the team but it's time for baseball fans in South Florida to put up or shut up. Stop complaining and go to the ballpark.

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