Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig talks with reporters after a meeting with… (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated…)
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig approved the blockbuster trade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays, but not before he sent a warning shot to the owners of the Marlins.
That Selig issued a statement to announce his approval was unusual enough. That he put the Marlins on public notice was even more unusual, a reflection of the pressure Selig had received from fans in Miami, and from the local officials who had authorized a new ballpark funded largely with taxpayer dollars.
The Marlins said they could not afford to pay for the new ballpark themselves because they were not making money -- financial documents later revealed that claim to be a lie -- and said that the revenue from the new ballpark would allow them to afford a first-class team. After dumping Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez during the season, the Marlins have traded the three high-profile free agents they signed last winter, sending Heath Bell to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to the Blue Jays.
The Marlins also sent ace Josh Johnson to the Blue Jays. Miami is expected to start its second season in the new ballpark with the lowest player payroll in the major leagues.
"I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park," Selig said. "Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their Club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of."
Selig's complete statement follows:
"Since Tuesday, I have carefully reviewed the proposed transaction between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. I asked our Baseball Operations Department and our Labor Relations Department to compare this proposed transaction with similar deals. I also consulted with experienced baseball operations executives to get their input regarding the talent involved in this transaction.
"After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion. It is, of course, up to the Clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.
“I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park. Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their Club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of.”
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