The term “Fire Sale” is being thrown around all over the place the past week and it is completely unfair to the Miami Marlins and their Front Office. What is occurring is not a fire sale, it is more of a change for the team. To show how the term is used way too often when it comes to the Marlins, people began throwing it out there after just the trade with the Tigers. Waiting until after the Hanley Ramirez deal would have been slightly more understandable albeit still an overreaction.
Anibal Sanchez, and Randy Choate are set to be free agents after the season and neither one was expected to be back with Miami. Had the team remained in playoff contention, it’s a virtual guarantee that both players would’ve stayed on board despite their impending departure. However, the Marlins did not stay in the race and there was little point in hanging onto the two just to see them leave for a draft pick or two. Some will argue that the Marlins could’ve held onto Choate and dealt him in another deal instead of packaging him with Ramirez. If that was an option, Miami would’ve surely done that, but odds are Los Angeles demanded Choate’s inclusion as part of the deal in which they were picking up Ramirez’s entire tab. Since no other Major League team had reportedly offered to pay anything more than half of Ramirez’s contract, this became a deal that Miami could not pass up.
Hanley Ramirez was a clubhouse cancer, there is no way around that fact after several anonymous Marlins spoke up today stating how much happier the clubhouse is after Ramirez’s departure. There were publicly reported transgressions over the years for the former All-Star and a lack of production on the field. There’s a good chance two times as many reports of Ramirez’s transgressions didn’t make it to the public. In addition to bringing the locker room down, Ramirez was grossly overpaid considering his production the past two seasons. With another 2.5 years to go on his contract, Miami had to move him when a chance arose to wipe his entire contract out. In this day and age, it is not considered possible to unload $38.5 million dollars with a player who has hit under .250 the last seasons. Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill did just that and they should be commended for it, not vilified. Getting anything back for Ramirez should be considered a win when you take into consideration that his contract is off the books.
Omar Infante was a casualty by association much like Choate. In order for the Marlins to pick up a stud prospect such as Jacob Turner, they had to include Infante in the Sanchez trade. The Tigers could not justify letting Turner go for a rental such as Sanchez. With Infante, they get the rest of this season and all of next season at a bargain rate. The Marlins would not have had a problem paying Infante $4 million next year but they had no choice but to include him in order to get a future top of the rotation guy like Turner.
It is possible that the Marlins will make more moves before July 31, in fact it’s very likely. Regardless of if they do make more trades, this is not a fire sale. 1998 was a fire sale, 2005 was close to a fire sale. This is simply a restructuring of the team. Jeffrey Loria put his money where his mouth is this past off-season and he brought in a lot of talent for a lot of money. He tried to put a winner on the field and it’s extremely likely he will do so again this coming off-season. Every move so far has had a good reason behind it and it will all lead to Mr. Loria, Beinfest and Hill putting a contending team on the field in 2013. This year’s version of the Marlins was going nowhere, and it would have made no sense to stay status quo under those conditions.
When a team puts together a fire sale, it is very obvious. It is strictly to clear money off the books with no intention of contending in the following season. That is clearly not happening here and it is unfair to classify it as one just because the Marlins are taking part in it. It is only fair to give Mr. Loria a chance to prove he is committed to fielding a winner again this off-season. He needs to be given a chance to spend that money he saved today before he is thrown under the proverbial bus once again. We all know there is a history for this organization but those experiences should make it even clear that this is not a fire sale.