Monday, December 11, 2017

Looking for Lawyer

      Is any Miami lawyer willing to launch a lawsuit against Major League Baseball for consistently providing South Florida with second-rate Marlins owners who do not have the funds to pay for a Major League payroll? 
      Class action? Representing county that contracted with the team to build Marlins Park on the assumption that the Marlins would field a Major League team? 
       First MLB did this sleight of hand, getting rid of Expos, setting up the Nats -- and dumping a small-funded New York art dealer on the Marlins in order to cement the arrangement. 
       Then in 2017 MLB approved a new owner groaning with $400 million in debt to make purchase. His only stated goal is to cut payroll. How could MLB have approved this?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jeter colludes with Yankees -- no need for Russian middle man

Jeter can walk into any sports bar in Manhattan tonight and everyone will offer to buy him a drink -- Mr. Yankee has just given his main allegiance a huge Christmas present with Giancarlo Stanton -- setting up what may be a dynasty that will rule baseball for the next decade. I've just tweeted to Red Sox, Blue Jays, TB Rays and Orioles that they must demand MLB stop this outrageous collusion. This summer I re-read (for the first time in decades) The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. I'd forgotten the final twist: (Spoiler alert!) The devil is a Yankees fan.
       The people who are really to be blamed here are the leaders of the MLB. First, they wanted to get rid of the Montreal Expos and so they handed the Expos cash-poor owner the gift of the Marlins at a big discount. Fast forward to 2017 and MLB rejects local groups like Jeb Bush and others from new ownership -- people that would have to walk into Miami restaurants and look fans in the face. And instead has brought in a Naples investor (who's had to borrow a lot of money to do the deal) and Mr. Yankee (who's making sure his primary loyalty gets his help).
      One key detail -- within 24 hours of Stanton giving Marlins a list of four teams, Jeter had done a deal with Yankees -- the most important deal in Marlins history.  No complex negotiations, just here's your Christmas gift.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

New Owners: Bean Counters

By John Dorschner
    Every day the new owners of the Marlins are revealing added details about how they view their purchase as an investment --not a quest for championships.
    The latest revelation comes that lead investor Bruce Sherman is still seeking $250 million more from investors, as first reported by And it's all put in money terms, with "payroll discipline" being a top priority.

    What's clear is that Sherman has bought into the Marlins with the idea that sports teams tend to soar in value over time.  If he just holds on to his investment, his money might double or quadruple in five or 10 years. Consider Loria paid $158 million in 2002 and sold for $1.2 billion this year.
    Among Sherman's top priorities: "Payroll discipline."  Investor talk for cutting salaries.
    Contrast that with Mark Walter buying the Dodgers in 2012 for $2.15 billion. The team president at their first meeting, according to Wall Street Journal, told the billionaire there two ways to build a winner -- high-priced free agents or developing young players. "Let's do both!" said Walter.

    With the Marlins all we hear is that Sherman has $400 million in debt that he has to pare down. Every move the owners have made so far seems focused on money, not victories. Heck, they even kept on Michael Hill, the guy responsible for innumerable bad drafts, trades and free-agent signings -- perhaps because he has a lengthy contract that they'd have to pay off to dump him.
    And still, the pitch to new investors starts with the promise that Sherman-Jeter will "significantly improve ticket sales." How? By dumping Stanton?
    Now, to be clear, Sherman inherited a mess from Loria.  I'm sure Loria knew he planned to sell the team and was looking to get another championship -- without caring about long-term costs. Stanton's ultra-long-term contract for $325 million -- back-loaded so that the team just starts to feel the hurt with the first big hit of $25 million in 2018 -- really never made sense for a team with poor attendance and awful TV contract.
    Then there's Chen -- due $12 million in 2018, and $20-plus million for the following two years. Tazawa gets $7 million next year, Ziegler $9 million, Prado and Volquez $13 million each.
    Marlins fans needed a deep-pocket owner, semi-insane, willing to spend big bucks for a championship -- and instead we got bean-counters just biding their time till the value of the club goes up.
    Note: I first saw the investor pitch at

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Marlins pitchers pay scale

Loria upped the payroll this year, perhaps knowing it would be his last attempt to get to the playoffs. But how wisely did they spend the money? ERA is just one of many measures, of course, but just for a rough look, it's an indication there seems to be no correlation between pay and performance with this team. (Salaries from Herald report.)

Chen4.33    $15.5 mil
Volquez    4.71    $9 mil
Ziegler4.49        $7 mil
Ramos3.01    $6.5 mil
Koehler5.61    $5.75 mil
Tazawa 4.49   $5 mil
Phelps4.76   $4.6 mil
McGowan4.58   $1.75 mil