Marlins Rip Up Team After One Bad Year
November 19, 2012

I haven't been paying a lot of close attention to the sports world lately (with the election, and a new job, and all), but this is the time of year when baseball can make headlines, even though it's the off season. But did I see this right? The Miami Marlins have sent almost all of their best players packing. To Canada.

Speedster shortstop Jose Reyes (who they just got from the Mets a year ago), pitchers Josh Johnson (2.30 ERA in 2010) and Mark Buehrle (two no-hitters, including a perfect game), speedy outfielder Emilio Bonafacio (who can also play all infield positions), and veteran catcher John Buck (throw-in) were traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a case of Moosehead and two pounds of back bacon.

Actually, the Marlins got a little more than beer and ham. They got seven players in return, but most of them are prospects, and fans are outraged. The team, which finished 69-93, and in last place in the National League East, had just completed the first season in a new ball park—one that was largely publicly financed. It was supposed to be the beginning of a new age, but as soon as things started going badly, ownership changed course. They traded star Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers in August, and fired manager Ozzie Guillen after the season (not a big surprise there). Now this.

The furor by the fans got commissioner Bud Selig's attention, but as is normally the case (rightly or wrongly here, I'm not sure), Budrick did nothing. He said the trade made sense in baseball terms, formally approved the deal today, and 160 million dollars of payroll has been outsourced to Ontario to join mega-sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The Blue Jays will make all five teams in the AL East competitive, and next thing you know, Selig will make four wild cards in each league so the entire division can make the playoffs. Meanwhile in Miami, slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is all that's left (oh, this just in, they just signed aging outfielder Juan Pierre). Stanton will look at his team in spring training and wonder, “Who are these guys”? At least he'll get to know all the fans next year at the new Marlins Ballpark. All hundred of them.

Add Blue Jays: In addition to all of the Marlins players, Toronto has reportedly agreed to a two-year, 16- million dollar deal with free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera. You remember him, the MVP of the All-Star game who tested positive for a banned substance, was suspended 50 games, and then his existence not even recognized by the San Francisco Giants.

You heard (read) it here first: Ever since the Dodgers-Red Sox blockbuster trade, I've said that the Red Sox will go after former MVP, top free agent, and embattled by inner demons Josh Hamilton. The Marlins now have the money, but probably won't spend it. If Hamilton doesn't remain with Texas, look for him in center field at Fenway.

And the winners are...: The season awards were announced last week, in prime time now so the MLB Network will have something to do. No real surprises here. Miguel Cabrera (over Mike Trout) and Buster Posey were MVPs. Trout and Washington's Bryce Harper were Rookies of the Year. Oakland's Bob Melvin and Washington's Davey Johnson were Managers of the Year, and David Price of the Rays, and R.A. Dickey of the Mets won their league's Cy Young Award. I would have voted for Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals (21-8, 2.89 ERA, 207 strikeouts) over Dickey (20-6, 2.73, 230), but a minor quibble. Besides, Dickey's a knuckleballer—you've gotta love that.

Woof, eh? The now-traded Buehrle owns pit bulls, which are illegal in the province of Ontario. No word yet on what the pitcher is going to do, but it's a long commute from Buffalo.

48 is a classy number: You may have read this story elsewhere, but it bears repeating. Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter recently left the Los Angeles Angels and signed with the Detroit Tigers. He wanted to keep his uniform number 48, which was owned by pitcher Rick Porcello. It is customary in baseball for a player like Hunter to “purchase” the number, maybe, offering Porcello a gold watch or a motorcycle. All Porcello asked for was a donation to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Porcello lives in Tewksbury, New Jersey where his home only suffered from a power outage and downed lines in the area, but neighbors weren't quite as lucky. The amount of Hunter's donation has not been made public, but you can be sure it is a sizable sum. A class act from both sides.

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