Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett and Carlos Delgado are all gone. And they are only the beginning of the gutting of this team as the Marlins finally do the sensible thing and start spending money within the confines of their budget.
They have the worst lease in all of sports, thanks to the criminal act of Wayne Huizenga and the naivete’ of John Henry – who now owns the Boston Red Sox. (Funny how a guy can’t afford to build a stadium but can afford to buy one of the most lucrative sports franchises in all of sports.) The Marlins also have a fickle fan base that can’t seem to consistently support young stars like Miguel Cabrera or Dontrelle Willis or even the talent the likes of Carlos Delgado. Rain and weather scare Marlin fans away? Possibly. That and an area for the game that offers very little short of traffic jams and a long commute.
And now the OB plan has been scrapped because the Marlins and the officials of Miami couldn’t figure out a way to fund the $30M gap. The Marlins were offereing $212M to throw into the pot that was going to cost around $350M (but probably closer to $400M when all is said and done).
But this is all good. This is all progress. The only way the Marlins can be taken seriously is to take serious measures. They don’t have the money, so they have to make the moves to free themselves from “financial irresponsibility” that has occurred with them trying to enliven this South Florida fan base. They tried to spend like a big franchise, but lacked the money and the support. Such shrewdness most dont display – especially at this time of year.
There will also be a ripple effect in place. These moves the Marlins are making look eerily similar to those made after the ’97 season. But this is almost 10 years later and the Marlins still don’t have the financial flexibility in place they need. Perhaps this is more than just posturing, perhaps the Marlins are serious. And maybe now the politicians will start to think about some real and tangible alternatives to get this franchise not only what it needs, but what it deserves.
The future is bright for the Marlins no matter what, even in this bleakest hour. There will be a day of resolution ahead – either the Marlins will get the facility they need here in South Florida or they will find it somewhere else. Because there will be other suitors. For a franchise that has been able to win two championships in less than 10 years, there is always some interest. And with the most recent moves that may even set the Marlins back a few years, they will have the talent in a couple of years to be a very scary and dangerous team. Much like in ’98 when the baby Marlins came together with loads of talent – they managed to win it all with that core in ’03. This team, however, may have a shorter turnaround with talents like Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis being the established ‘vets’ on this team while only being in their ealry 20’s. Adding to that top prospects Jeremy Hermida – who has the 5 tool talent to be a huge star in this league – along with Mike Jacobs and Hanley Ramirez, this team has the young talent on offense to make a splash as early as next season.
It may look bleak, but there is hope.