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Loria-palooza Day 3: Marlins are "not a Triple A club"

     JUPITER -- On Day 3 of a public relations blitz to address the uproar over the stripping of the roster, Marlins owner Jeffery Loria addressed the media at the team's spring training headquarters. Here's his latest Q & A with media:

     Loria: "I fulfilled my promise in the new ballpark last year. We had a $100 million payroll. It didn't work. So what do you do? Go back again and lose more games? I can only tell you that we can't win without good players in the organization. We needed to do something to beef up the organization. It's as simple as that.

     (Didn't you) promise fans there would be competitive payroll?

     Loria: Yeah, except last year was a disaster and we had to push the restart button. Fans didn't come last year after the team started losing. I can't make them win or lose, but I can set the parameters, and we put a team out there that we thought was good, and it actually continued what was going on the year before. Do you want to spend every year in front of you, looking and watching and seeing losing baseball. I'm not here to be involved in losing baseball.

     Couldn't you have hit the restart button and kept some of the pieces?

     Loria: It wouldn't have worked. If you know anything about the game, you know that down the road, you have your ideas of what your payroll is going to be and who the players are going to be. It doesn't add up.

     So it was about payroll?

     Loria: No, it' snot about paryoll. It's about players. It's about people. I said the same thing in 2003. For me, it's never been about payroll. You guys can keep repeating those words. We have some very exciting young players here, and we need to bring them along and bring in what you would call the "stars" while we develop our own stars, or else we're going to be a last-place team forever, and I don't want to live with that. I don't think any of the fans accept losing. If you accept losing, you don't come to the ballpark. And that's not what we bought the ballpark for.

     Fans are upset because they feel like you're asking them to come out this season, support a Triple A ballclub. What do you tell them?

     Loria: "It's not a Triple A ballclub. I don't know whose words those are. They may be your words, but they're not mine. It's not a Triple A ballclub. It's a ballclub with some pretty impressive players. I wouldn't call (Placido) Polanco a Triple A player. I wouldn't call the new shortstop a Triple A player. I wouldn't call our second baseman a Triple A player. I certainly wouldn't call Rob Brantly that. These are exciting young players. Giancarlo Stanton is not that. Juan Pierre, Mr. Energy who sets the tone for how you play and the standard for excellence....these are not Triple A ballplayers. If you want to use those terms, I can't prevent it. I can't stop you from saying what you want to say. But I will tell the fans we have now the core -- 16 or 17 terrrific young players -- and they're going to be here very quickly. Some of them are going to be here this year. We're hoping that Yelich and Fernandez will start the ball rolling."

     ....about Miami being a baseball town. What does that tell you?

     Loria: "Miami is a baseball town. Miami is a wonderful baseball town. It has a great baseball heritage, going way back long before there was major league baseball here.

     The letter you put out Sunday said the buck stops with you, that you can accept some of the blame. But it was followed up with a lot of buts. Where does the blame fall on you in all of this?

     Loria: Where does it fall on me? I don't know. Maybe from last year and the year before my thinking we could do it with what we had, and it didn't work? And adding to it. I didn't hesitate when it came to putting a $100 million payroll out there. But when you have that happen and nothing good happens on the field, I don't know where the buck stops there because I can't hit, I can't run and I can't throw anymore. But, you know, I'm responsible overall, so I guess the buck stops with me. However, it's time to look ahead. My father used to say to me, 'Jeffrey, you know why the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror? Because the future is a lot brighter than the past." That's what we have. We have a bright future, and I would like us to rally around that.

      Why did you take so long to come out and basically explain this?

      Loria: "It's kind of hard to stop a runaway train. The season ended and I decided it was time to decompress and let all that was going to be said, said. I felt the time was right recently just before spring training started.

       Do you understand the sense of betrayal the fans are voicing?

       Loria: I understand the disappointment. I really do understand the disappointment. I'm disappointed. I didn't enjoy last year. We had kind of a perfect storm. Everything collapsed right at the beginning. The team didn't play well. Other things happened, which you all know. But it's a new year, and I would like us to look in front of us instead of behind us. And we have the core and makings of a championship caliber team now. Didn't work. It didn't work. We stunk. We had to fix it. We had to change it. We had to do it quickly. And that's what I wanted to do.

        You think the fans are not buying this because we've been through already? We had a World Series championship already and we didn't have one the next year.

        Loria: "Well, we didn't have one the following year and there aren't many teams that repeat....

        Not repeat, but keep those guys who won the World Series together for at least a couple more tries.

        Loria: "Well, you're looking at 2003 now. I'm trying to focus on the future."

        Aren't those what the last eight years were, prospects, trading away key guys, to build toward the future for when the ballpark came?

        Loria: "We had prospecrs over the last eight years and if you really want to focus on it, many of those prospects didn't work out. We didn't have the players. We should have had the players. We drafted players and paid first-round players bonuses to perform. Jeremy Hermida. Sinkbeil. Allison. Taylor Tankersley. But guys didn't develop, and you have to have these guys develop."

        Why should we have faith that these new guys are going to develop when they haven't the previous eight years?

        Loria: "I have faith in my baseball people....

        Even after that?

        Loria: "Yeah."

        So you see where fans are coming from? You're putting the future of the franchise on the hope your baseball people will find this young talent when you promised them you'd have established talent?

        Loria: "Well, the established talent didn't work. We had it last year. We had players that we thought were top players and they were paid and didn't perform."

        Jose Reyes didn't perform?

        Loria: "Listen, I love Jose. There's no discussion about that. But when you put together a baseball team, you have to look in front of you about where you're going to be, one year, two years, three years down the road. There's certain players here we want to keep. There's certain players that are going to come along. And we have to have that flexibility to bring in young players to go with the core. It just isn't like I'll sign this star and this star and this star. We did that last year and it didn't work."

         So where do you see the Marlins eight years from now?

         Loria: "Eight years? I can't tell you where I see them eight years from now. I see us putting together all of the pieces that we have, and all of the talent -- championship caliber talent -- which I see inside that clubhouse and out on that field, selecting and working and getting them to the major leagues quickly, and then we'll find out who we need to augment that. That's just the way you build a club. I did not want to be like some other teams in major league baseball. They make one or two changes each year and they never have winning seasons. We've had a lot of winning seasons through this decade. It's been not so great these last two years. We thought going into the new ballpark it would be terrific. So that's why I said let's go out and produce this $100 million payroll. It didn't work. If it doesn't work, you've got to fix it. I said yesterday, no gain without a little bit of pain."

         How do you expect fans to show up when they don't know half the starting lineup?

         Loria: "If they like baseball, they'll come."

         They didn't come last year with names that they knew...

         Loria: "Yeah, because they were losing."

         If the same thing happens this year and they don't show up, what happens next?

         Loria: "You're jumping the gun. You've got to watch to see how these guys develop. You probably don't even know half of the names of some of these guys we have. Spend a little time and look into that, see who they are. When we made the trade with Toronto, it was very interesting. We had the 28th worst farm system in baseball. You don't win baseball games without guys you can call on. Last year we had injuries. There was nobody to call up. We were bringing up Triple A kids who were 6-year free agents. They did their best, and we were grateful they were there. But that's not what you want for a championship caliber team."

         With all due respect, why should fans believe anything that you're saying, given the history?

         Loria: "You've said that question in four different ways, and my response to you is we have put together a championship caliber of young players, a large group of them. We're going to field an excellent team in the next two or three years that you're going to be proud of. I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe what I think."

         Did you repair the image with the taxpayers, that it was kind of a con job with the stadium?

         Loria: "Con job? I'm not even going to answer that question. Sorry."

         Did you encourage Jose to buy a house?

         Loria: "I never encouraged him to buy a house. I spoke to Jose when he was here and he was looking for a house. He was going to wait until the end of the season and -- I'm glad you asked that question because it's been reported inaccurately."

          He said you talked to him about four days before he was traded. That's not accurate?

          Loria: "First of all, four days before he was traded, he was on a plane to Dubai. I never spoke to him. I saw him at a dinner that I invited him to come to. I had no idea we were putting together any trade  that was going to happen while he was away. First of all, he sat two people away from me, so I had very little opportunity to speak with him. My wife sat inbetween us. I asked him if he had been to Miami. He said he was looking at houses, his wife was down there. He said he was going to Dubai. Three or four days later, Larry (Beinfest) called me with what he wanted to do. I immediately called his agent, Peter Greenberg, and I said we're going to be making a trade. I want you to call Jose. Just make sure he doesn't buy a house. That's the essence of it all."

          On the use of taxpayer money to build the new ballpark....

          Loria: "First of all, the money is not local taxpayer money. The money is tourists' dollars. You keep reporting this inaccurately."

          The perception by the general public who doesn't understand the taxation that the money isn't public money, how do you get beyond that?

          Loria: "It's public money that's supposed to be used for facilities. If you want to be a major league city and have a major league baseball team, you need a major league facility."                    

 

Comments

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Sunny Dee

Loria keeps saying that his $100 million ballclub was awful and that it was one of the worst teams the Marlins have fielded. This is very misleading and highly inaccurate. The Marlins decided to give up on the season on July 23rd when they traded Anibal Sanchez and Infante to the Tigers. They traded Hanley on July 26th, and Gaby on July 31st.

The Marlins record on July 23 was 45-51. Although not a great record, they were far from the worst team in baseball at that point. Sometimes a team needs time to develop. Instead of trying to improve the team, Loria gave up on the season and traded several of the Marlins best players. It was only after Loria decided to deplete the roster did the Marlins completely collapse. For Loria to now say that he tried to win with a $100 million payroll is very disingenuous. Although why should anyone expect anything different from this lying piece of garbage?

mike

This was a very unbalanced, and terribly put together team. The mistake wasn't dismantling it, it was how the original team was put together. Too much meddling by the owner on the original make-up of the team. They did need to dismantle it, but the way it was handled and the way it was 1st put together lost the fans.

MBL

Loria is correct, they are not a Triple A team, they are a Double a team!!

Camera Mike

I find it absolutely incredible that every time Loria speaks he actually manages to increase the anger towards him exponentially. In a sad way it is actually somewhat impressive. I would like to know the names of the PR people who designed this approach because if I ever need PR help I want to stay as far away from them as humanly possible.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

An outright, demonstrable lie is when Loria says he had no idea Reyes would be traded. They could not have put together that kind of deal in that short of a time span. He knew.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

CM, a proven liar who profited by lying has no defense. It's a small consolation that Loria is comoelled to spend on a PR firm, since I know there is nothing THEY will be able to do to improve his image. Besides, how is his tactic of blaming the media for his lies going to help him when his problem is what he told us, the fans, for years???

Mr. Miami

I find it interesting that he can't name his team's shortstop or 2nd baseman but he knows they aren't AAA ball players

Eli Santana

Lies lies and more lies. This team last year was pretty good before he traded the players to the Tigers and other organizations. This team was only 7 games under 500 and stating to put it together. We saw in 2011 how the cardinals, rays and even Giants came back in the final month of the season. How you expect not to lose 90+ games when you trade away most of your key players. Reyes had good season away from injuries. He lie to us, i bought his stupid merchandise believing that i could wear it for years to come. I spent 160 dollars to sit on the top floor for the opener last year and went to 30 games. If I visit the stadium this year will be for the WBC and thats it. Lots of support to the marlins from my couch. F U Loria. Just disappear or sell the team and all of us will be really really happy. Thats the only solution.

lucash

Mr. Miami...I was thinking exactly the same thing. The the old goat can't come up with the names Donovan Solano and Adeiny Hechavarria, but a minute later, he's blasting reporters because "you probably don't even know half of the names of some of these guys we have." What a clown.

spitballer

The attending media had a chance to ask some specific questions but IMO…failed miserably. Why wasn’t it pointed out that he started dismantling the team in July….a mere 4 months into the season.

laurelbowie

I've gotten a little behind (little behinds are always nice) on my reading, and I'm trying to catch up on the latest developments with the Fish. Maybe this has already been touched on, but what do you guys think about this guy Jeffrey Loria?

Camera Mike

Spitballer, I am fully with you on wishing that question was asked but in defense of the press Loria walked away after only 15 minutes while a PR rep said he would later take more questions only for Loria to not do so. Perhaps that question was on their lists and had not come up yet.

The other question I would love to hear answered regards the front office. It's no secret Loria has fired multiple managers for not delivering immediate winning results. Though he fails to realize the dire state of both the major league roster and farm system he believed the organization was in last year was the result of years worth of draft picks and decisions by the forn office. How come he didn't hold the front office up to the same immediate results standards he did with managers, and even turned to the very same people he bemoaned for creating the problem to solve it?

magicj

because the front office does what he says what stops him from picking players in the draft himself. and they take the hit for his trades infante and sanchez for brantly and he is bragging how they got brantly could of gotten a better deal if he waited but he was trying to figure how to dump salary from the beginning. the reyes deal was absurd they should of gotten arencibia he would of protected stanton and could of played first.but he was also getting up on salary so he wasn't an option the trade was a money dump plain and simple like hanly. and many more so called baseball moves he makes badenhop would of netted a better prospect in the trade deadline but he was up for arbitration can't have that let's trade him for nothing. the loria championship team building way

bob

So when he says "You keep repeating those words", referring to payroll, is this nutjob talking to himself? He said payroll over and over. He keeps trying to dress it up as "it's the people who didn't match", but it's really about payroll, and the $100M payroll cutting into Loria's precious revenue sharing dollars.

The only people who didn't match were the useless hitting and pitching coaches the Marlins had last year, and as far as I know their salaries were not breaking the bank. When you have useless Eduardo Perez who can't help John Buck hit above .200, how do you expect the team to win? You wanna talk about Reyes not performing, about Buehrle not performing, but they are top tier talent with horrible direction under Perez and St. Claire.

And seriously, this guy wants us to believe this isn't a AAA ballclub? I'm sorry, but Brantly definitely still counts as AAA. Washups like Polanco are AAA quality. Unproven players like whoever our SS and 2B are gonna be (even Loria can't name them) are AAA quality. Pierre is on the twilight of his career, he's AAA+ quality. The only guy on the team who is not AAA is Stanton, he is the only bona fide major league superstar talent we have after the salary purge last season.

This guy is not fooling anybody.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

what's jot being reported here but was reported by nbcmiami's web page is that Loria was asked how he was going to change the impression that the ballpark project was a con job. He refused to answer. As Camera Mike points out, he was supposed to take more questions, but never returned.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50960789/ns/local_news-miami_fl/

bob

Dionysus, that's rich. "A con job? I'm not even gonna answer that." That's real rich.

bobbyd12

A disgusting, lying, POS.

Orlando Dolphan

I love the questions asked. They really put Loria on the spot.

Loria is a con artist. Look at what he is saying about the tax payer dollars. That tax money could have been put to better use than to build a MLB park for a AAA team to play baseball in. Or how about not taxing the tourists so much so that we can get more of them to support the Miami Dade Economy. This guy thinks that we are all idiots.

BTW- Echevarria, the 2nd basement, and Brantly are all borderline AAA players; how many MLB at bats do they have. Then he mentions 2 guys that are pushing 40 and way past their prime (so much all they could find was minimum 1 year deals). The starting pithing: your #1 is Ricky Nolasco who would be the 4th or 5th starter on most MLB teams. The only legit major leaguer is Stanton and I am sure he will be gone soon for more prospects (wait until it is time for arbitration). The truth is that this is a squad filled with AAA players, has beens, and 2 or 3 legit major leaguers. That can be considered a AAA team.

TheCane

Echevarria is a stud. brantly is a good baseball player, way better than john buck! You guys need to understand that team was a bad baseball team. You don't pay 100 million dollars to a jose reyes. In my opinion you only pay a 100 million dollars to a power pitcher or a homerun hitter and reyes is neither. The marlins got a whole bunch of studs in return for all of there trades. I understand people hate to see the players they love leave, but the truth is even before last year the core they assembled sucked! If any off you knew baseball youd know this team will be very good very shortly.

thehurricoon

guess that Toronto doesnt know what their doing by trading away their future stars for the Marlins crappy players.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

@TheCane, you're either Loria or Sampson posting under a pseudonym, or you're totally clueless about baseball. Not to mention unable to distinguish between a lie and a commitment.

Stan M

DT,
Can't a fellow blogger post his/her opinions without being accused, without any foundation, of being someone else? The Cane might have had a little trouble with grammer, buy much of what is said is, in my opinion, neither clueness nor indistinguishable from fact.
Many think Reyes was overpaid. Personally I disagree with that, but it is nonetheless supported by more than a few others. That Brantley is better than Buck is admittedly an opinion, but after watching Buck for two years, it could be postulated that nearly anyone is better than Buck. Cane's claim that even before last year, the teams core sucked has merit. Hasn't nearly everyone on this blog complained about past trades and draft picks? His final clain that the team will be very good shortly is probably too optimistic, but the future is brighter right at this moment than it has been in some time. Don't you agree that in 2014 or 2015 at the latest, that this team will be at the very least competitive. That is something that they haven't been for the past two last place finishes. DT, I generally respect your opinions, but in this case I think you unfairly jumped on a relatively new poster. and all opinions should be able to be presented without such a reply. All that being said, Cain your blanket statement about any of us not knowing baseball was imprudent and was probably the main reason that DT jumped on your back. Let's all save the venom for those most deserving, especially the chubby guy with the fake hairpiece who speaks with a forked tongue.

Oscar Greenberg

Change the owner, change the FO, it won't matter. People in Miami could't care less about baseball. This franchise should have moved to San Antonio, Portland, or Oklahoma to pair up with the Thunders.

It's too hot. It's too humid. There's no retractable roof. there is no A/C. It rains. The team is bad. The stadium is too far. The stadium is not comfortable. The food is horrible. There is plenty to do in the city. The area is dangerous. There is no good parking. The manager is a fan of Castro. The owner is bad. This a AAA team.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. There was always an excuse to not go to the stadium, even when there were plenty of reasons to actually go to the stadium.
In 2009, this team was in the thick of things in September, fighting for a WC spot, coming back home from a 6-1 road trip, playing excellent baseball, and on a beautiful Friday night...there were less than 15,000 fans in the stadium. Ridiculous.
Last season, after a bad April, the team was playing pretty good in May, and again, coming back from a 8-1 road-trip to the West, playing smoking-hot baseball and back home to a series against the Mets over the weekend. Not even then, with a beautiful new stadium, beautiful warm May nights, with a team playing great baseball, these fans could pack the ballpark. Not even one day of sold-out baseball. And obviously, there were more Mets fans than Marlins fans. The worse part is that there are plenty of similar examples throughout the existence of the Marlins.
Is Loria a terrible baseball owner? No doubt about it. And he surrounds himself with not very bright baseball minds. However, the fans are not too far behind. This city and these fans do not deserve a MLB franchise. Period.

Stan M

There is no doubt that Loria is a charlatan of the first order. But stupid? Probably not. Perhaps more shrewd than perspicacious, but the man had turned a relatively small investment into quite a financial gold mine and that's hard to do if one is of inferior intelligence.

However, Loria's attitude toward Stanton's situation baffle at least this old man. Loria has neither credibility nor likeability at this time. It can't get any worse. So why not offer Stanton a guaranteed contract right now? If accepted, it would help to assuage the ill feelings all of us have toward this owner. He could then say, "See, last year I spent money, and I did again this year", and he would be right. If Stanton refuses to sign, there will be some of the onus switched to him if the contract is favorable enough. And if he signs a long term contract, it would make trading him even easier if attendance continues its pitfall. To me, it seems like a win-win situation. Yes, there is that "no trade clause" to think about, but couldn't Loria offer him an "escape clause" like others have received? Lastly, if Stanton refuses any negotiation toward a contract, Loria will have a perfect excuse to trade him now while his worth is at its zenith.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, I respect your feedback, but my response was not posted without due consideration. As I read TheCane's comments, I was struck by how it mirrored precisely what is being stated these past three days by Loria, including the belief that Reyes is not worth $100M, which by implication is Loria's position since he traded him. Too much of a coincidence for me. So either he/she is restating Loria's position and nothing more (which are lies, rendering TheCane clueless, imo) or he IS Loria/Sampson. Grammar is irrelevant to me, I'm guilty of too many typos to criticize anyone else. But content IS subject to scrutiny, and his/hers just doesn't hold water with me on a number of levels.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

BTW, Reyes is NOT worth $106M, imo. But teams like the MAAArlins and the Indians and other teams looking to establish credibility, have historically had to overpay in order to establish that credibility with their fan base.

Stan M

Oscar,
Who do you think you are? Laurel Bowie? Your post is beautifully written and cogent in every way. I might add that Southern Florida is packed full of retired folks and they don't like to open their wallets unless offered a break. Please understand that the opening above is a compliment of the first order.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

I believe that Stanton has already resolved to move on when he has the chance. Nolasco also. If Loria had any intention of spending even wisely in the near future, Josh Johnson would still be here, since $13.75M is an absolute bargain for an ace by market standards. Why would Stanton sign another one of Loria' back loaded contracts without a no-trade, knowing full well that he'll be traded to a city of someone else's choosing a year into the contract (or less)? Even Loria himself recognizes that he has no credibility at all with players, and everyone will be limited from here on to drafted prospects and over-the-hill or injury-risk veterans.

Oscar Greenberg

Stan M (as in Stan the Man?), Not sure who Laurel is. Only Bowie I've known is the British singer (David). And the Bowie Baysox.

Stan M

DT, we'll see about Josh Johnson. There are an awful lot of pitchers who could go 8-14 and cost far less. The man obviously has tremendous talent, but I question whether he has the arm and shoulder to back it up. Yes, I have read all of his new stats but 8-14 is still 8-14. I know that I'm by far in the minority, but I liked everything about that trade except giving up Bono. That and not signing the Cuban this past Spring are the FO's two greatest sins in my opinion. And frnakly, it doesn't matter what Stanton has decided. Loria should offer the contract anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it's probably the only positive PR venture that is open to him.

Camera Mike

The Cane, Like others here I do disagree with some of your opinions. Though there is also some I do agree with and in fact I don't think anyone here will disagree with your belief that Brantly is better than Buck. I only wish you could have paid Brantly a better compliment. Last season the fish would have stood a better chance at getting a hit by literally not sending anyone into the batters box than by sending Buck. That being said In my opinion while Brantly was certainly young and raw last season he also showed talent, knowledge, and some growth which does have me excited about his future.

As to your belief that the team will be very good shortly I just don't see it. I think they can be a .500 team in a couple years but not a very good one. Though I certainly hope I am proven wrong and you are proven right. However that will bring about a problem every Loria owned team has always faced. If these young guys do develop into great players I have absolute faith that Loria will trade them away instead of paying them just like he has done with every talented player he has had either here or in Montreal. Personally that is the reason I am so angry over the trades last season. I know that if these young players do develop the Marlins will not be the beneficiary of it and as a Marlins fan I will have to watch talent that should have been playing in Miami winning titles in other cities, and after suffering through Wayne Huizenga and a decade of Loria I am simply sick and tired of it.

Finally welcome to the fish bytes blog The Cane and while I do disagree with you it is always good to see alternative opinions and view points and I hope you continue to post here.

Stan M

Oscar, LB is a retired Washngton DC journalist, who, simply put, writes with a flair that no one else on this blog can duplicate. He used to be a frequent contributor and still posts occasionally. The Laurel Bowie is a reference to two race tracks which I believe he used to frequent. There are many who have a great deal of interesting things to say here and most posts are well thought out. But none of us can say it as well as LB, at least not in this old man's opinion.

Camera Mike, what a nice thing to say and I agree wholeheartedly.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, W-L is a bottom line for me as well, but in all fairness, Johnson's record does not reflect his performance. Of his 31 starts, he surrendered 3 earned runs or less in 24 and nine of his fourteen losses came in those games. IMO, he pitched to a better record than 14-8, never mind 8-14.

Flav C

Agree with DT wholeheartedly.

JJ had a 3.13 run support in the season. The worse in the entire NL (for pitchers with 150+ innings pitched). Had the lineup contributed just a little bit and the bullpen not blowing up as many leads, he would have easily finished the season with Ian Kennedy's type of W-L record: 15-10. By the way, Kennedy had a worse era than JJ last season. So did Tommy Hanson, Jake Westbrook, and several others. All with a much higher ERA than JJ, however all with a better W-L record, simply because of good bullpen and better run support.

Stan M

DT and Flav,
Yes, I'm an old contrarian. And honest to God, I've been reading Bill James since 1984. But the team with the most RARs or ERAs doesn't win the damn pennant. The team with the most wins still counts most. And as I said above, it's JJ's health and not his talent that worries me. I hope he tears up the AL, but I think it more likely that he will break down again. Please believe I hope I'm wrong. And in my defense, JJ is a 6 or 7 inning pitcher and has consistently been killed by the relief pitchers that follow him. A true ace doesn't leave the game that soon...in my opinion.

Here's a question for you. I've asked it before but no one seems to know. It's the top winning percentage that wins the pennant, not the "runs behind" column. Somewhere I seem to remember that Red Barber developed the runs behind concept to make ML standings more easily understood at a glance. Have any of you heard who originated it?

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, I'm old enough to have heard Red Barber, although that was after he was announcing for the Yankees. But I don't recall the runs behind concept. Sounds interesting.

As for being an old contrarian, count me in double. I don't dispute or criticize the "new-age" statistics. I just retain my belief that statistics are only an indicator and the bottom line, wins and losses, are the only real stats that count.

If there's anything negative I've seen with these new statistics, it's that (1) ESPN.com's biggest proponent of them, Law and one other guy whose name escapes me, were once denied entry into the BBWAAA for not having attended enough games ... which to me is a damning indictment of their credentials to be anything more than just fans like us, and (2) the team which may be the biggest proponent of them, the Boston Red Sox, made such huge mistakes in free agency (Carl Crawford, J. dl. Drew, et al) that they themselves had a MAAArlins-like salary purge last season (but at least they turned around and reinvested the savings in other established stars, unlike Loria).

Thus, I've never subscribed to the Church of Bill James, and have no problems with those who do.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

To be clear, I really don't understand most of the new statistics, and never cared to either. I did have occasion to read one article about how they determine relative fielding prowess, and found the methodology very subjective and suspect.

Stan M

DT, are you from the NY area? I'm originally from Long Island and grew up loving the Dodgers of Brooklyn, but it was during my years on Marco Island that I became a Marlin fan. It sounds like we're pretty much on the same page regarding the new stats and I completely agree that these so called objective stats are arrived at through the influx of subjective criteria. I especially don't like the defensive stats. Including them is probably why Trout finished so ridiculously far ahead of Carbera in RAR last year. Here is a completely personal example of how I think the defensive stats are flawed. Coghlan was universally rated as a well below average LF in his rookie year. I watched virtually every game (on TV) and strongly feel that he became a fairly good LFer after a few weeks of acclimation. He got excellent jumps, nearly always threw to the right base or hit the cutoff man, and his arm was more than adequate after he had stretched it out. What I think happened is this. When he moved out there, management told the CFer to cover as much of LF as possible because Coghlan was new to the position. As a result, Coghlan's range factor was skewed downward. I also felt that Uggla was underated as a fielder. Whereas he did lack lateral movement, he was superb on pop flies, hung in well on DPs, and seldom gave a bad feed to the SS on DPs. Lastly, he played every day so there wasn't a sub there for any length of time as what happens when a guy only plays 150 games or so. Lastly, he was playing on a field that could get chewed up by football and concerts, etc. I've pointed this out before, but Willie Mays is regarded as the standard bearer for CFers. When you get a chance look up Richie Ashburn's put outs and compare them to Mays. Obviously other factors came into play there as well, but if one went purely by put outs,Ashburn was the far better fielder and that just isn't the whole story.

Rafa

This is great! He (el mongo) aka Loria, has taken the spotlight away from the team and placed it on himself, I guess he does not want the public to see the AA club he put together. He is a moron, and I apologize to all the morons out there.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, I was born and raised on a small but densely populated island you may have heard of ... Manhattan. My father was a huge NY Giants fan, and continued rooting for them when they moved to SF. May he rest in peace, but I think he still owes me money from the '62 Series.

Agree with you completely on the defensive stats. They cannot measure game conditions, the value of intangibles like dependability and baseball IQ. For example, a smart veteran infielder will often not throw when he has no chance rather than hurry a throw, whereas a rookie or newcomer will make that throw and risk the error and extra base for the runner. Gold Glove Awards and Defensive stats have often been at odds. The awards, I believe, are voted by managers or coaches, people who are actually A PART of the game on the field. I think I'll take their choice every time.

Camera Mike

I'll throw my opinion into the ring on this one too. I have to agree with DT and Flav on JJ. Win loss record is important but there are other factors that decide wins and sometimes people place too much of an emphasis on just how many games a pitcher won. Personally I like to look at a pitcher's era, era with risp, innings pitched, and strike out to walk ratio. Though that's just me and I would love to hear other stats you guys use to judge pitchers.

Also I think people are starting to place more emphasis on stats besides simple win loss records. Remember in 1996 John Smoltz beat out Kevin Brown for the NL Cy Young with people citing wins as the main reason despite the fact Brown started over 30 games and had an era of 1.89, but in 2010 Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young even with his 13-12 record as voters realized he was on a horrible team and all most all of those losses were beyond his control.

Stan M

Here are my more optimistic thoughts on this coming year:
While much vilified in the press, the team that represents Miami will actually feature better hitters than the team that finished (not started) last year.

New and more respected coaches have been added and this is a definite plus

The team should be improved defensively at nearly every position, but especially at 1B, 3B, LF and to a lesser degree SS.

By all accounts the team chemistry is much improved. Malcontents Hanley and Heath Bell are gone and good riddence.

Some Marlin pitchers fared more poorly last year when there were men on base. I wonder how much of a factor was their worry about a potential steal and Buck's throw ending up in its customary place in CF with the runner now on 3B. There has to be improvement here.

The manager seems to be somewhat of a Gerardi clone and a great improvement over Ozzie who was simply the wrong man in the wrong place.

It might be impossible for the bullpen to be anything but an improvement over last years pyromaniacs.

One personal observation. I attended a game in Atlanta and sat perpendicular to home plate and less that 20 feet away. Eovaldi was on the mound and I watched him overpower hitter after hitter. Many Braves were literally swinging when the ball was already in the catcher's mitt. On one occasiion, he made the great Chipper Jones look awful for an entire at bat. My point is, if he can do it once, he can do it again. I think the guy has ace potential but only time will tell.

OK everyone, take me apart. And I realize that they will again finish last, but a far more interesting last.

Camera Mike

Stan, I honestly greatly admire your optimism and wish I could exude it to the degree you do. I want to look forward to this season but so far I'm having a difficult time doing so. That being said you did bring up some good point.

At the start of last season I do not think anybody thought Heath Bell would turn into the total and complete failure and malcontent he became and hopefully the Marlins avoid any such surprises this year.

Brantly should be an improvement over Buck in catching stealing runners, but like you said Buck was so bad at this even a small step forward is almost all but guaranteed. Plus Brantly should be able to do more than simply take up space in the batters box.

As far as Redmond goes after hearing and reading the praise and respect many in the game feel for him it gives me optimism that he has what it takes to be a solid major league manager. I fully expect him to make rookie mistakes but I also expect him to learn from them and get better as the season goes on.

With Eovoldi I have not seen him pitch in person but from watching on tv he did have some flashes of brillance and one can only hope he can learn to play like that consistently. Plus not having Randy St. Claire coaching him should improve his chances of becoming more consistent.

Ok, so perhaps I am starting to feel some optimism for this season, but it is still greatly tempered by the history of our owner and his cohorts.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan M, I don't find one single problem with your analysis of the upcoming season. Rather my main issue is with Loria. Yes, it all comes back to him. The way in which a person does business transcends results. In my business, I've been part of a management team that once fired a long-time employee who was responsible for adding millions in profit to our bottom line, but we discovered (I did, in an audit) that he did so unethically. There are some things that SHOULD transcend results, and the WAY you do business is one of them. This is the one concept that is lost on Loria the art collector, who thinks that if the team succeeds or if enough time goes by, we'll forget all about his lies and deceit.

I'm convinced that even if the MAAArlins caught lightning in a bottle and developed a core of players up the middle, as winners do (C, P, SS, 2B, CF), Loria will STILL be unwilling and unable to bring the complementary pieces every team needs and obtains through trades and FA's. The man has been so unethical as to have actually destroyed his own brand. If he'd been just the CEO instead of the owner, he would have been fired long ago.

Stan M

Camera Mike,
Next year could prove interesting, but even I don't feel optimistic about performance. I did pick them to win 2 more games than last year, but that was mainly based on how lousy they were last year, not how good they will be this year. However, at 76YO, I hope I'm alive to see the years that follow. In evaluating the team's progress, one must compare them to the opposition. In 2013, they could possibly finish above the Mets, but that's as far as can be hoped for. In 2014, the Phillies will feature a lineup of AARP candadates and we should beat both the Mets and them. Assuming we either keep Stanton, and let's face the fact that there is an injury risk there, or get a king's ransom for him, we should easily compete for the pennant by 2015.

Unlike many on this blog, I respect Beinfest for he job he has done in keeping this skinflint's team competitive for several years. The poor draft choices could be a result of Loria telling him to draft players who require a smaller bonus. Anyway, I'd love to see Beinfest give Loria an ultimatum; either fire me or let me run the damn team. In my opinion he wouldn't be without a job for long if chubby fired him. This team could do much better despite Loria if he could be made to take a back seat in decision making. Now that's real optimism.

Camera Mike

Stan, like you my optimism lays in the future potential of our young players and not in the upcoming season. Though my optimism is also layered with fear that any players that do develop will be long gone for even more prospects by the time they reach their peak. As we all know those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it and that cliche now needs to be stated with the caveat that even Marlins fans who do know their history will still be doomed to repeat it.

As for my prediction for 2013 I see a final record of 57-105. While our defense might have slightly improved in some positions the Marlins simply don't have enough experienced batters to consistently score runs throughout 162 games. JP and Polanco will get there share of hits but at their age it is optimistic to believe they can stay healthy enough to play at their full potential all season and unless Morrison returns to his first season performance there just isn't a player on the team that can protect Stanton in the line up. I can easily see Stanton being walked 200 times.

Not to mention the growing pains and rookie mistakes the team will certainly make I see this year looking a lot like the 1998 season. Hopefully the players can use those losses and mistakes to grow, learn, and come together like the '98 squad, and I hope even more so that by the time they can start winning Loria is gone.

D

Stanton will never sign with the Marlins. Why should he ? He'll be another star that left. ( remember this is the man who let Cabrara walk ).
MLB will die in Miami while Loria laughs his way to the bank.
The man is a disgrace to sports & to the game that most of us grew up with !!!

TheCane

Stanton will go where the pay him. No one knows what he is going to do, but the Marlins have a few years to repair the relationship. In my previous post I wrote I thought this team was talented, and a few of you wrote "well if these players become great the marlins will just trade them again". What you fail to realize is all teams do this....

There are only a few teams in this league who can pay to keep there players. Hence why St. Louis allowed Pujols to go. The marlins will operate on a mid range payroll, and they need to pick and choose which player to keep. People get all mad and go nuts to see there favorite players go, but thats the game if your team is not the Yankees Red sox, Angels, or Cubs.

But this is how tampa bay keeps winning. They keep trading (Carl Crawford) getting studs in return and keep reloading. What the Marlins essentially did was reload in one massive off season, and I like it! Because as I said before the current core sucked!

Camera Mike

TheCane, like your last post I find parts I agree with and parts I disagree with. I do believe the fish can save their relationship with Stanton if they play all of their cards correctly over the next couple years and then blow him out of the water with a giant contract with a full no trade clause. Unfortunately I do not have any faith in Loria and Samson making all the correct moves that will be necessary.

As far as last years team sucking I think it's important to keep in mind the Marlins fielded two different teams last season. The first half team was most certainly disappointing but I thought they were starting to show signs of coming together and would have improved in the second half had the team not been broken up at the trade deadline. The team that totally and completely sucked and finished in last place by a large margine was the piecemeal team they fielded after the trade deadline and I whole heartedly agree with you that team did suck. Though I think they could have done better with a partial breakup that could have complimented some of the pieces that team did have versus the complete rebuilding they went for.

Yes, it is true that other teams do let their stars go in either trades or free agency but there are differences between what St. Louis and Tampa did. Neither of those teams lets as many players go at once and the Marlins did and they also don't have a history of fire sales leading fans to believe this won't be the last massive salary dump but simply the most recent. Also, other teams tend to get current major league players or another teams top prospects in return for stars which is not the case in the trade with Toronto. Furthermore other teams tend to keep their stars beyond just their first contracts and thus get more results from them before they trade them away than the Marlins have throughout their history. It is that history of trading away players before seeing most of the great results the players are capable of that I have been referring to in my posts about the future trading away the current crop of young Marlins.

Please do not think I simply think you are wrong as that is not the case. I think you have brought up some good points that are worth debating and I just disagree with you on certain details. Finally I truly hope your opinion about this team becoming very good shortly does turn out to be correct.

TheCane

You make very valid points. The team made a huge mistake by spending that amount of money not really knowing the revenue they would incur. So some of these trades were definitely salary based (reyes, buerle). They quickly realized and panicked when the team started to lose. I believe a lot of these moves were made for the names only. They are now just getting back to just forgetting the names, and getting just pure talent.

Now this talent is going to mature, and they are going to make name for themselves, and they are going to command some dollars. Loria says when that happens well keep who we need to win. This of course remains to be seen...

but as far as the moves this past off season im on board, and to be honest once fernandez and yelich get called up, which I think will be in the middle of the season, we will already be much better on paper than we were last year.

Echerrvarria is a stud...I will keep adding that lol

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