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Marlins' curse is a lack of commitment

eadearmas

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I am posting this article published today in The Herald to see what are the general thoughts and feelings on this. I just want to let it be known I am not much of a fan of LeRetard, but...

Marlin's Curse is Lack of Commitment

Posted on Tue, Jun. 03, 2003

Marlins' curse is a lack of commitment
COMMENTARY / DAN LE BATARD
dlebatard@herald.com

Dan Le Batard


Save the outrage. Please. Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo and a slew of other popular Marlins soon will be traded for prospects you've never heard of, and there will be poison spit at management from all directions in this town that cares only enough to complain.

It is moronic and oxymoronic, the idea that we could lead the league in both whimpering and empty seats. But the most passion that ever seems to surround this limp franchise is when we become furious that the team has traded yet another player nobody goes to watch.

Fact is, the Marlins aren't making a mistake by trading Lowell now. They can't afford him anymore, period. That's the reality of the current baseball economy, and the poverty that plagues this club. Lowell has gotten too good and too expensive too fast, and that means the Marlins soon will lose him, just like the A's lost Jason Giambi, just like the Expos soon will lose Vladimir Guerrero. That's the way it has to be for small-payroll teams in the current climate. Get used to it. Or build the team a stadium.

The most unforgivable mistake here isn't that the Marlins soon will trade one of baseball's best third basemen. It is that management didn't foresee that he was going to grow like this and get his excellence locked up back when it was still affordable even for a franchise clipping coupons. But, then, that takes vision, and the Marlins are like a blind man in a dark room wearing a blindfold.

You want vision? Look in the other dugout tonight, the one housing a perpetually competitive Oakland team whose payroll is smaller than Florida's this season. The A's saw what they had in Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, so they avoided the arbitration process by giving them multiyear contracts that now are staggeringly cheap. Consider this: The A's will pay the bedrock foundation of Hudson, Mulder and Zito almost half as much this year as the Marlins will pay Iv?n Rodr?guez.

Why? Because, unlike the Marlins, they believe in giving long-term contracts, but only when the price is right. Even though they are in economic handcuffs, too, the A's are willing to do what the Marlins didn't do with Lowell a year or two ago. They'll give reasonable long-term contracts to circumvent an insane arbitration process that now will get Lowell $10 million for one season, at least.

So Zito, last year's Cy Young winner, is signed through 2006 -- and making only 1.1 million this year. And Mulder is signed through 2006 -- and making only $2.65 million this year. And Hudson is signed through 2005 -- and making only $2.7 million this year. So the A's, a team that has won more regular-season games than the Yankees the past three seasons, have ensured they'll be competitive cheaply through at least 2005. They're paying nearly $6.5 million this year for three of baseball's best pitchers . . . while the Marlins pay Mike Hampton more than that to pitch for the Braves.

See, the key isn't having the most money. It's spending what little you have the most wisely. The A's let Giambi go, just like they will let last season's MVP Miguel Tejada go. But you know what happened after they lost Giambi, center fielder Johnny Damon and closer Jason Isringhausen? They went from 102 victories to 103. And they locked Jermaine Dye up with a contract that was easier to afford.

The Marlins don't believe in commitment. Not to you. Not to winning. And certainly not to their best young players.

They probably could have had Lowell signed to a four-year contract worth $15 million last year. But that requires a trust in both your player and your evaluation of him, and the Marlins don't trust like that. Marlins president Dave Samson was asked just before the season about giving Lowell a long-term deal, and he said the team didn't believe in them because players tend to get fat and happy with riches. That's why center fielder Juan Pierre, an undesirable contract acquired in order to get rid of other undesirable contracts, is the only Marlin signed beyond this year.

Told that seemed an awfully negative way to look at things, like heading into a wedding while planning the divorce, Samson said, ``Ever heard of prenuptial agreements?''

Yep. But, if you are going to be that stubborn about it, you ought not be surprised if your fans don't much feel like getting engaged.
 

cgator

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I usually don't care for Le Batard's stuff, but he does have some extremely valid points in this story. You have to expect to lose players when you keep a small payroll, especially when everything is done year to year.

I understand payroll flexibility, but being able to keep the core of the best talent is one of the keys to success (and fan support.)

Perhaps the Marlins do not feel comfortable in their assessment of players to be able to lock them up long term. Or maybe they are just afraid of committment. Only the front office knows the true answer as to why they do not do multi-year contracts.

Of course, Le Batard could have made his points without the backhanded comments. But then it wouldn't be Le Batard.

later......
 

Wild Card

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You're right. I don't like him, but he has some good points. Although they are negitive, they are right. And the shots he takes at the franchise are too.

I plain and simply hate him because there is not a shred of optimism in that man. :angry
 

Wild Card

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I think Le Batard is a theif! He stole his idea from this past artcile, and I think this line, "the Marlins are like a blind man in a dark room wearing a blindfold." from somebody who said it about Bienfest and Samson on here a while back...

Marlins Won't Commit
January 5, 2003

I wonder if Admin Bienfest is married. Na, he couldn't be! It seems to me like he has some kind of fear of commitment.

Ever since the end of the Marlins '97 World Series campaign, we have been rebuilding a team for the future. Well, now it kind of seems like that team may have arrived. The sad thing is, the team we have been building for so many years might collapse after 2003. Here is my Sportcenter "Did You Know? ". Only one of the forty players on the Marlins roster is signed past the '03 season (Juan Pierre ).

That's bad. Hell, that's down right horrible! When asked about offering stars like Luis Castillio and A. J. Burnett long-term contracts to lock them up for the future, Bienfest replied, " We feel that we need to be more flexible for the future. " More flexible for the future! Give me a break! Those two players are probably our best, and for them to even want a long-term deal to Florida is a godsend. Admin Bienfest, you NEED to wake-up!

If I were the GM of the Marlins, I would have locked-up Burnett, Beckett, and Penny from the get go. I would have signed Castillio and Lee to long-term deals after the 2000 season, and offered a new contract to Juan Encarnacion right after he got here. I would be trying to get Mike Lowell to come back for a few seasons right now! This minute! Omar Minaya might be to blame for the past, but Admin Bienfest will be for the present, and the future.

You know, I can't see into the future, but from what I can tell it doesn't look very good for the Florida Marlins after this season. And just to let you know, I'm an optimist.
 

Hotcorner

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yeah call the cops.

Sigh....

It's not a bad article from LeBatard actually.

But he fails to mention that the Marlins practice of not signing long-term deals actually paid off for once when A.J. Burnett went down. Everyone was screaming at Loria to lock up Burnett to a long-term deal, and couldn't even believe they were taking him to arbitration. Now look what happened.

Yes getting Lowell signed to a multi-year deal would have been my choice too. But at least show both sides of the story Dan...
 

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