Report: Feds open SEC probe into Marlins’ stadium deal

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Heath Bell? Check. Jose Reyes? They’re still trying. C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle? Maybe. An investigation by the SEC? Safe to say that wasn’t on the Marlins’ wish list this offseason.

According to a report in the Miami Herald, federal authorities have opened a “wide-ranging investigation” into the Marlins’ ballpark deal with Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami. Specifically, the SEC is demanding financial information regarding nearly $500 million in bond sales and records of campaign contributions from the Marlins to local and state elected leaders.

The county and the city have until January 6 to fork over a host of documentation on the stadium deal, including minutes of meetings between government leaders and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and MLB commissioner Bud Selig and records of Marlins’ finances dating back to 2007.

The subpoenas focus heavily on the Marlins, requesting communications to and from team executives, documentation that might show the team’s ability to pay for or contribute to the financing of the stadium, and information on any meetings involving not only Loria and Selig, but also team President David Samson and former Major League Baseball president and chief operating officer Robert DuPuy. DuPuy was instrumental at the latter end of the hard-fought deal.

The new taxpayer-funded stadium, which is set to open next season, left the county and city on the hook for almost 80 percent of the $634 million price tag. This investigation comes just weeks after a report in the Miami Herald revealed that the stadium will cost taxpayers more money than originally pitched by politicians.

Marlins president David Samson told the Herald that the team has yet to receive a subpoena and merely said “Appreciate the info.” when asked to comment on the investigation.

Jered Weaver announces his retirement

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Jered Weaver, a 12-year big league veteran and a three-time All-Star, has announced his retirement.

Weaver was struggling mightily with the Padres this year, going 0-5 in nine starts and posting a 7.44 ERA,, a 2.6 BB/9 and 4.9 K/9 ratio over 42.1 innings. He hadn’t posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2014 and his velocity had, quite famously, sunk into the low 80s and even high 70s at times in recent seasons. A spate of physical setbacks contributed to that, with a hip inflammation ailing him this season and nerve issues in his neck and back afflicting him for the past few years.

But even if his recent seasons have been less-than-memorable, it’s worth remembering that he was, for a time, one of baseball’s best pitchers. He posted a record of 131-69 with a 3.28 ERA in his first 9 seasons, leading the American League in strikeouts in 2010 and leading the circuit in wins in 2012 and 2014. He likewise led the league in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings in 2012.

He finishes his career with a record of 150-98, an ERA of 3.63 (ERA+ of 111) and a K/BB ratio of 1,621/551 in 2,067.1 innings. He pitched in four American League Division Series and the 2009 ALCS, posting a 2.67 ERA in seven playoff games pitched.

Happy trails, Jered. A first-ballot induction into the Hall of He Was Really Dang Good, Even if We Forgot About It For A While is in your future.

The Jose Fernandez statue may be in jeopardy

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Last November it was reported that the Marlins planned to build a memorial for Jose Fernandez, likely including a statue. The effort was said to be a pet project of the Marlins owner, Jeff Loria, who was close with Fernandez.

Today the Miami Herald reports, however, that those plans are in limbo due to the sale of the team:

The planned statue to honor Jose Fernandez, which was departing owner Jeffrey Loria’s idea, is now very much in question because it will not be erected before Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter take over, and it will ultimately be the new owners’ call. That matter has not yet been discussed, with the sale agreed to only in the past few days.

There’s nothing in the report suggesting that they’re opposed to the statue — it’s possible this was placed in the Herald by people close to the new group in order to test the waters — but there always was the sense that the idea was something of a priority for Loria personally. One wonders how much momentum it will have once he’s gone.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Fernandez was eventually found to have been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and was behind the wheel of the boat at the time of the accident that claimed his life and the life of two others, making any memorial to him suspect in the eyes of some people.

Thankfully we don’t spend a lot of time and energy discussing the ethics of statues in this country, so I’m sure it’ll have no bearing on the matter.