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Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria discusses Stanton, trades, franchise's future (with audio)

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria met with about a dozen sports writers Monday night inside the Diamond Club at Marlins Park in his first interview since the dismantling of the 2012 roster.

Among the many topics covered, Loria discussed the future with All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, why the team traded Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, and his vision for the franchise moving forward.

Video cameras were not permitted for the interview. But here is the 25-minute audio interview below.

AUDIO OF JEFFREY LORIA INTERVIEW

After Loria finished the interview and exited, Marlins President David Samson spoke for roughly another half hour about the fiscal state of the team and why the 2012 season was a failure.

AUDIO OF DAVID SAMSON INTERVIEW

HERE IS THE COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT FROM LORIA...

- Why not speak earlier... "There is a simple answer to that. It's hard to stop a runaway train. I wanted to decompress, sit back and see what we needed to be doing and I thought the time was finally appropriate to talk and get my message across to the fans, which is what we did Sunday."

- Do you have a grasp of the public anger... "I have a sense of it. I'm sorry we built this amazing ballpark and fans are feeling the way they do. But we did this for a reason. We weren't going anywhere. And I think anybody that is a baseball guy or a baseball person will realize that after two years we had we had to do something. And we had to do something swiftly, quickly and bold. I'd like to turn the clock ahead two years from now and look back at what we did because we had three or four prospects really in our system. We didn't have people we could call up last year. We had no good young players to any great numbers and I will invite any of you and all of you to be in touch with us, me, Larry [Beinfest] and Michael [Hill] to talk about who is one our system. We didn't break up the 1927 Yankees. We broke up a losing ball club that was going nowhere for two straight years. I'm about winning. I like to win. I love winning. I love Miami. I love this ballclub and I love what we've done now. Little painful for a lot of people. But no pain no gain."

- Reyes and Buehrle had just signed long term deals and fans can't understand why they were traded... "We had a pretty bad year last year and signing these free agents didn't work and I decided along with my baseball people -- in spite of what some of you think I don't make unilateral decisions -- I made two or three unilateral decisions in all these years. One to sign Pudge, which the nay-sayers said was going to be a disaster. That didn't turn out so bad. And I made a unilateral decision to see if we can get the best closer in the game at the time last year which was Heath [Bell], who had three straight successive years. I thought that would be great for us in our new ballpark. Didn't turn out so well because he had problems on the field and off the field, his father was dying. It didn't work out for him or the club. I made it my business to really pursue Jose [Reyes]. I love Jose. To this day I love Jose and I think he's one of the great young players. But when I tell you when you see what we've done here, the shortstop we've brought in for the long haul -- Hanley Ramirez called us and told us what an incredible shortstop he is. When Hanley Ramirez calls you and tells you he's a better shortstop than I am you've got a great guy on your hands. It's amusing to listen to. That's what we want to be thinking about. We wanted good defensive players. I've brought in some coaches. I asked Perry Hill to come back. Perry had his surgery and came back. We had nobody teaching anybody anything in the infield last year. But the overall picture and I wish you could all grasp this is that we had nothing going forward. We had another opportunity to have losing seasons for the next couple years. Three, four years it could have been the same stuff because we had nobody to mature and nobody to bring up. We had Jose Fernandez who I encouraged our guys to draft when they did. He was a young Cuban player that we all liked. And when he gets here he will be a household name. We don't have any household names tomorrow. But there will be. You don't win in this business and you aren't successful as a baseball club unless you have an organization of young players that you can call upon. We didn't have that. Larry, Michael talked to me during the year that they can't believe we have all these guys hitting well before their averages. Frankly we stunk. It was a disaster. I talked to our guys and these were the suggestions I got. We got to start again. Want to give me the hits? Give me the hits. The buck stops here. I'm interested in making this successful. We didn't build this building for 10 years to have what's probably going to be this year fewer fans coming. It's a spectacular place. But the baseball people told me we aren't going anywhere. So we had to do something."

- Why include Buehrle and Reyes in the trade... "Buehrle is a very interesting guy. He’s in this mid-30s. Where is he to join us? In this business you have to look ahead. You have to look three, four five years down the road. You make a team four years from now, Buerhle doesn’t fit in. He’s at the end of his career earning $17 million, 18 million, and frankly that doesn’t work down here at that point for us because there are other players we're going to want to keep, want to sign. We have good young pitching, we have really good young pitching."

- Sounds like you are taking a shot at Larry Beinfest's work... "It's not an indictment on Larry. We haven't had great luck from 2002 to 2008 or 2009 with the exception of Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Johnson along and a couple of other guys. But I can give you names of players that just never made it. You draft players. Some of them work out and some of them don't. Hermida didn't work out. Jeff Allison didn't work out. Sinkbeil didn't work out. Volstad didn't work out. Wonderful kid..."

- Is your intention to resign Giancarlo Stanton... "We're hoping that moment will come, absolutely hoping that moment will come. But Giancarlo needs to play this year. He is here for certainly the foreseeable future and we will cross that bridge at the appropriate moment."

- What was your reaction to Stanton's reaction on Twitter... "I love Giancarlo. He's a great young talent and I wish him nothing, but the best. I have nothing but fond admiration for him. He's a young man. If you really look at it, you go to your workplace and suddenly three or four guys are gone, it's a little disturbing. I understand that. But I'm going to wish him a great season. My wife and I saw him in France. I asked him what he was doing last summer. I told him meet me in Paris and we'll have dinner in the Eiffel Tower. We had a great time together. I love him. He's a great talent. I hope he has a successful year.

- Some people believe Stanton will only be here for one more year... "I don't have any comments on that. He'll be here this year and I'm hopeful he'll come here the next year and when we have our opportunity to talk to him, we'll cross that bridge. We will cross that bridge. He's a Marlin. You're jumping the gun. I would love to see him be the young centerpiece on this ballclub. He'd be the young giant on the ballclub. But you can't make promises in this game because strange things happen all the time. I can tell you he is 23 years old now. He's just beginning his career."

- Do you know what the spending for the team will be going forward... "Last year we had a payroll of close to $95-$100 million and lost tens of millions of dollars. We had to turn back the clock for the moment and push the restart button and get these young players in here and look at where we are in another year or so."

- What do you envision in terms of spending... "Well its going to be a function of the revenues we have. We built this ballpark because we thought there would be a lot of fans coming in here down the road. I understand they're disappointed. That's a natural reaction. I'm not going to give you a budget down the road. We didn't do this for fun. We did this because we think we have something special here."

- Will you get back to the point where you were last season, spending a $100 million... "No. We'll never get to $100 million. We don't have the TV contract yet to do that. We will one day."

- Weren't season ticket sales going well in 2012... "Season ticket sales were going in the right direction and then the season started. We all know the perfect storm that came."

- What did this first season at Marlins Park tell you about Miami's loyalty to baseball... "I'm a firm believer Miami loves its baseball, but nobody wants to watch losing baseball. It's a community that has a background and a history of loving baseball. The latin community loves it, all over the world, wherever there are baseball players whether they are dominican, puerto rican or cuban. It's why we spent 10 years building this beautiful building. We'll get back to where we want to get to. And it was very hard last year. You come into a ballgame and Heath's blowing ballgames day after day, kind of depressing. Other things happened and we needed to fix the chemistry and we needed to fix the core of this team. I know you don't understand it some of you. You can't win in this game if you don't have good young players around you."

- Why did you sign Buehrle and Reyes... "We signed them because we thought it was going to work. I saw him as being here for five years as I saw Jose. I also saw us drawing more people and we didn't draw more people because the team was losing. There was a reaction so early in the season about some comments made. All of it was the perfect storm."

- What about the message sent to free agents. Buehrle and Reyes had either bought homes or where in the process of that... "They didn't buy homes down here. Jose didn't buy a home down here. Let me set the record straight. What you were told is inaccurate, is inaccurate. Never told him to buy a house. He was looking for a house. He came to an ALS dinner which I invited him to. He sat two people away from me, came late. I asked him what he was doing the next week. He said he was going to Dubai. I said 'Has your wife been to Miami?' He said 'Yes. She's looking for a home.' Didn't say anything after that except I know subsequent to that three or four days later Larry came to me with a trade he wanted to do and I immediately called Jose's agent out of respect for him and said 'Jose is going to be traded and I want you to call him before he reads about it. He hasn't bought a house yet has he?' He said 'No. He's contemplating.' So I said 'Just call him and let him know."

- Do you understand fans anger that they were beyond firesale... "It's not a fire sale. You can call it a fire sale. It's called hit the restart button. because it didn't damn work. I understand the feeling. I have no interest in endless losing. We had two years of that. I want to see us get back to our winning ways. We had a number of years during the last decade where we had lots of successful season with low payrolls. Now we're in a position in a new building where the payrolls should be able to go up. We envision that. And I certainly kept my promise and said in this first year we're going in, let's get our shorstop, Mr. Energy. Let's get a closer. Then we had no closer."

- What has the reception to you been from public... "I will tell you that on Saturday night I was at the food and wine festival. I was approached by maybe 20 or 30 people. All of them congratulated me, said you had to do what you did. To a person. Everybody, fans still want photographs with you, happy. I haven't seen anything. I got a few silly phone calls. That was in November and it stopped. The only stuff is what happens daily here. I'm hoping we can call a halt to it all and try to get behind the home team here."

- Poll in Greg Cote's blog, 98 percent want you to sell the team... "Well, the team is not for sale. Of course I care. That means people are disappointed. But I know what we're doing. I just know we need to get a little bit down the road here to see what we've brought in. You probably don't even know the names of three or four of the players we have, that we've brought in. We have tried. We have energized this franchise. Does it matter? I can't believe fans want to come to a ballpark and watch you lose every night. We had to do something so it wouldn't be like that. We're going to have a little bit of a rough year because we have young guys."

- Should you have foreseen this 2 years ago... "I couldn't have foreseen any of this two years ago. I'm not that good."

- What about the negative things said about you... "I don't pay any attention to it frankly. I feel for them because they identified with Jose. I'm sure nobody loved Heath and his games that he lost and I'm sure Buehrle nobody really focused on him. Jose brought a lot of energy here. When Larry and Michael focused on the major league club with the best young talent in baseball they came up with the Toronto Blue Jays. And we absolutely raided their young player development system. Last year we had the 28th worst record for minor league development. We didn't have the players."

- What about trading your stars for minor leaguers... "You want to talk about it. We traded Josh Johnson who was going to leave this year. John Buck who wasn't helping us any. Bonifacio, I adored. But it's about Reyes. And for that I'm sorry. But in order to get us the five or six players we got from Toronto. In order to get you got to give."

- The Dolphins obviously took up issue with the Marlins... "That smear campaign. I'm sure it's just an effort to get a deal done. I hope the Dolphins get their deal. I want every team to thrive in South Florida."

- Why call it a smear campaign... "Using us for what? It has nothing to do with us. They want some funds, that's their business. We should have not been included."

- What's been the reaction to your letter... "I haven't gotten 98 percent of people wanting me to sell. I've had a bunch of phone calls from season ticket holders calling me and said 'Good for you. You finally said something.' Something needed to be said. And I know you follow what your editors want you to do. And I'm okay with that. And you can write as you see fit and I'm okay with that. But I think if we can take a little time out here and go up to Jupiter and I invite you to see who some of these players are. We got some spectacular young players. I got a text this afternoon from someone who said we lost a 7-6 game but all the young players were banging the crap out of the ball. Wait until you see Yelich and Fernandez and Marisnick and even the Hechavarria kid, and that's going to play well here too because he's a little Mr. Energy himself, too. Like Jose. Climb on the bandwagon and be positive about some of this that's going on here because in two years you're going to say 'What were we doing two years ago?'"

- Will you have to give into the no trade clause... "Who knows where we will be down the road. There are some free agents who may need it, but we have to wait and see."

- Will you have a salary ceiling... "There is no ceiling. This is a market. We have to worst TV revenue in baseball and we still have a few years before we can negotiate that. That will be very helpful. We're tied up until 2020 but the negotiations for that always start up before that."

- Will you go to Stanton with a no trade clause... "I don't think this is the year to go to Giancarlo with an offer. We have to let him play it out, let him feel comfortable. And we got the right guy in there now to manage this team. Mike Redmond knows how we operate and was part of his success here. Have you seen the flavor in our camp?

- Why wait on Stanton. Would send a message otherwise... "I want him to feel comfortable about stability here and what we're doing. We will reach out to him eventually."

Comments

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Dionysus Thelxinoe

After two years, they had to do something? What two years is he talking about? And the tens of millions of dollars he claims to have lost? Since he's the one keeping the books, and he's a proven liar, it can't be believed. Besides, even if it were true, it's been offset MANY times over by the increased valuation of the franchise because of the PUBLICLY FINANCED stadium.

BA

This guy is absolutely DELUSIONAL.

Camera Mike

After reading the letter to fans and the transcript above I feel there is even more proof that either Jeffrey Loria simply doesn't understand baseball and the Marlins fan's reactions to his moves and about him in general and never will, or he simply doesn't care and is now lying in an attempt to improve his public standing. The only good news is that from all the comments I have read it appears the fans are not believing what he is saying regardless of he is or not, and will hold him responsible for his actions. Which throughout the years have most certainly spoken louder then the words he is now trying.

I have not listened to the entire audio recording and to be honest I am not sure I can stomach hearing his excuses and defenses for 41 minutes. Therefore I don't yet know all the questions he answered, but out of all the questions I would love to ask him there is one above all others I feel he should be forced to answer. He says the team was horrible on the field and that the minor league system had no players in it the team could call up. Considering that was the culmination of years of draft picks and decisions made by the front office, how come no one that had even the slightest say in putting together either the major league roster or farm system was held up to the same standards of multiple managers during the past decade who failed to bring winning results? Moreover, how come the exact same people responsible for creating the dismal situation Loria believed both the Marlins and farm system to be in was asked to fix the problem they themselves created?

I hope that a question along these lines was asked to Jeffrey Loria today, but if not I hope it will be soon.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

OK, I listened to Loria's comments. They were the most disingenuous responses to reporters' questions I've heard since Richard Nixon was president. Based on his responses, Stanton will be traded (probably next year though ... sorry Giancarlo), the minor league system has been an abject failure yet the same guys are all still here, this guy is STILL taking credit for 2003 every chance (with his Pudge reference), and his talking points have changed with the new stadium from "can't spend without a new stadium" to "can't spend till attendance grows." Finally, it was evident that he thinks news reports of public dissatisfaction are a product of editorial decisions. What a clown!!!!!

Do not attend MAAArlins games. Do not buy their merchandise. Money is the only language MLB understands. It us the ONLY way we can bring about change.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Seriously, I had to take a shower after listening to Loria. But thankfully, afterwards I read Greg Cote's response to his stupid Letter to the Fans. It was perfect!!!!! I consider it a must-read.

Camera Mike

D.T., I have to agree with you on Cote's letter. He was spot on about Loria's biggest problem being himself and not the media coverage. Greg was at that press conference and I eagerly look forward to reading his response to Loria's answers.

HF

I Hope they Sell the Team "ASAP", and buy a One Way Ticket out of Town....

OldSkoolWestchester

This guy just doesn't Understand that HE doesn't know Squat about Baseball and He can't be the one picking the players... He wanted Heath Bell, He wanted John Buck... Etc... What this Organization needs is a NO Guy not all the Yes Men that surround this Clown... Now HE has Force-Fed Tino Martinez on Redmond's Staff and HE kept Joe "The Rat" Espada on the coaching staff... Everyone in Baseball knows what a fraud this guy is...He's a Millionaire playing in a Billionaires game... Of course you are going to "Lose" a little money at the start... But you have to Build a fan base, it doesn't happen in a year or ten years... the most successful clubs have been around 100 years and if you keep disenfranchising what you know is a knowledgable Baseball fan base then you will never draw a crowd... We are not stupid Mr Loria, we know the game, and sure JJ and Buck and Bell were good moves obviously, getting rid of Reyes and Bonifacio? Bonifacio is was every team is looking for and he was just getting to learn the game... Why do you think Joe Girardi is in New York? Because He was not a Yes man... what a coincidence He DOES know Baseball and Fredi... Same as Girardi... They know what it takes to win... Take a cue from two of the Best Organizations in Baseball Buddy there are no Gimmicks or "Starting Over Firesales" This is the Big Leagues no time for Artsy Fartsy Bargain Shopping unless you are gonna bring in a Baseball Guy To run this Circus... Then again, all the Baseball Guys will run from you like the plague because they don't want to manage a AAA Team, and answer to TaTu Samson. I know this is a Business but Baseball takes care of its Owners... the TV money comes when you win, so suck it up... you gotta spend Money to make Money... Unfortunately for you, you picked the wrong business if you were looking for a quick buck... Baseball is a marathon, not a Sprint and you are paying for YOUR bad Organizational Decisions. WE built you a ballpark... now WE choose if WE want to go watch OUR team. You want everyone to jump on the Bandwagon? Why don't you do us all a favor and Jump off it and let someone else do the Driving.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

C.M., Loria's answers, if you can call them that, included among other gems his suggesting that the press should get behind the minor league team he'll fielding this year at his expensive new stadium. And I should mention ... the gall he has, characterizing the Dolphins as engaging in a smear campaign. He's simply oblivious to the sports fans of Miami. And he doesn't believe for a minute there will be any lasting consequences to the fraud he's perpetrated on us. I for one will not let him forget, through these venues, until he's forced to sell.

Oscar Greenberg

Hey Dyonisus, do you want Loria's attention? Try writing a whole-page letter on the 3 major newspapers of South Florida.

Looks like you have too much free time in your hands, so why don't you do something useful with that, like writing letters to your Miami representatives and tell them how unhappy you are with this whole shenanigans. After all, they were the ones who approved this joke of ballpark deal.

EJ

I wish Loria would sell the team to an owner who actually wants to win. I'm done with Loria and company!

Stan M

Cote's article was excellent. Here is an even more damning rebuttal to Loria's ill conceived letter.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/jeffrey-loria-s-spin-cycle--separating-fact-from-flack-for-marlins-fans-205315315.html

Orlando Dolphan

What a joke. I can't beleive that anyone would be dumb enough to trust these guys again. In other words we will continue to be a AAA team that develops great talent and when it is time to pay we trade them away to acquire new talent for development. Read between the lines Stanton will be traded if not this year then next year. If Echevarria develops into a superstar then they will trade him. I thought that I would never say this but I am considering changing my alligiance to the Devil Rays.

Orlando Dolphan

I can't believe that Sampson would say that there are actually 5000 season ticket holders this year. These guys are either so rich that they don't know what to do with their money or they are incredibly stupid. Think about it, you are going to pay major league prices to see a AAA team play?

BTW- Notice how the old excuse for be being cheap with the team was: we don't have a ballpark and payroll will go up once we have it. Now it's the rich TV contract and that is why we have to keep pay roll low. We were hoodwinked into building these scoundrels a ballpark! That money could have been used for schools or other good causes. Let's wake up people, he is doing it to us again.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

@Oscar groinberg, I'm pretty sure you post here under a variety of names, so who's the one with time on his hands??? And I haven't pocketed hundreds of millions from a baseball team, like your hero Loria has, so I don't have the money to throw away on full-page ads. Besides that, these ads would have about as much impact as Loria's did, which is none. Truth speaks volumes and your hero does nothing but lie.

Vontae's Grandma

This guy is a millionaire, playing a billionaire's game.

I dont know why Baseball people still have this guy around.

I agree to the player dumping. The offense last year was horrible. We were losing games because of we werent scoring runs.

But why did we get rid of the whole pitching rotation?? I thought we had a pretty good rotation.

Stan M

There are undoubtedly others on this blog who can address this better than I, but to my knowledge Loria will get more from this ownership that his yearly earnings and team appreciation when he eventually does sell. If the tax structure is still similar to what it was when "Veeck As In Wreck" was written many years ago, he will also profit from yearly depreciation on his possessions that wear out...namely his players. And my guess is that it is based on the payroll when he bought (read that stole)the team rather than the present salaries.

I still say that boycotting the team solves nothing. Rather the fans are depriving themselves of entertainment and also giving Loria an excuse for not spending money in the future. I very much favor fans organizing and then boycotting a team sponsor. If enough of us said we will think twice before spending money on so in so's product, I think it would have a more immediate impact. And the Commissioner would undoubtedly notice such a move as well.

In truth, our only real source of hope for improvemennt probablly lies in the Player's Union. That is one group that gets a response from the baseball bigwigs.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, we agree on the most important point, which is on Loria and his lies. Where we differ is on what we as fans should do. I really don't like the word boycott, it's way overused and it involves an organized and publicized effort amongst fans that is just not possible, unless one or more individuals had the time, energy, and resources to lead it. It's just not gonna happen. Personally, I would no more use the word boycott if the circumstances were, for example, a restaurant or a retail store. When any business' product is unacceptable, we vote with our feet. In Loria's case, the sad fact is that he had already made so much money off the MAAArlins that he could sustain low attendance indefinitely, if he so chooses. But the one truth that that this thief has spoken so far is that he does not like to lose, and that especially applies to his money. Baseball fans, like any other consumer group, can and should vote with their feet. About the only advantage we have right now is that the new ballpark precludes his old threat to move the team, since MLB and contract law would not allow it. But if we refrain from attending games and refrain from purchasing ANY MAAArlins merchandise, and do this as long as Loria owns the team or until he fulfills his commitment to spend (which will never happen for a number of reasons, not the least of which free agents will never come here again), only then will Loria bleed money, and that my friend is the only way we can force change. Sponsors pay out based on projected revenue from advertising, and if the MAAArlins lose that edge, we'll have effectively driven away sponsors, or at least dramatically driven down MAAArlins revenue from sponsors. The only true justice in this case is tit for tat. Loria has bled the Miami community for untold millions, it's now incumbent on us to make him bleed money back. It's the only way.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

BTW, Stan, the Players Union is powerless with Loria. All they could possibly make him do is spend revenue sharing dollars, and given the increased valuation from the new park, the impacte of that money is greatly diminished. Plus, Loria's ace in the hole would be to make contract offers to free agents who will never again want to come here anyway, at which point the Union would have to clam up about it.

Stan M

DT,
Loria gets revenue from all ML team merchandise sales. I must humbly disagree about the union's power and influence. As the old saying goes, "There is more than one way to skin a cat", or in this case, a sly fox.

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