In case you weren’t around yesterday Marlins owner Jeff Loria published a full page “Letter to our fans” in the Miami papers, purporting to explain the Marlins’ controversial and exceedingly unpopular moves since last year. The full text of it can be seen at our post on it yesterday.
I just got a chance to read it and noticed something. Despite saying “the buck stops with me” and “I take my share of the blame where it’s due,” he is pretty clear in his letter that the buck hasn’t gotten to him yet and that any blame to him is not due. Indeed, Loria believes that he is in no way to blame for the state of the Marlins and the fans’ unhappiness with the franchise.
Here is a list of the people Loria believes to be responsible for where things currently stand, in order as they are mentioned in the letter:
- Anyone who does not believe the trade with the Blue Jays was a good idea because it was “universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.”
- Every member of last year’s roster, all of which Loria says “underperformed as compared to their career numbers.”
- “naysayers who are currently skeptical”
- People who are “reporting negatively” and making “negative accusations” on the ballpark and its funding.
- “Those who have attacked us.”
- People who are “attacking the County’s method of financing” for the ballpark;
- “columnists” who have “decried” the trade;
- “We” meaning the team, for not communicating well with the fans. This is a superficial stab at responsibility, but the tone and placement of it is clearly that of a person who thinks they’re always right saying “I guess I’m not being clear, because you still don’t understand that I am right.” If Loria did want to take responsibility for the poor communication he would mention the fact that he has given no interviews and made no statements at all since last season ended and until this letter was published. He has also apparently forbidden team officials from talking to the media too. Yes, Jeff, “we” could do better with communication.
- He would, however, like to remind us that he helped bring the 2003 World Series championship to Miami. I guess when the team plays poorly it’s on the roster, when they don’t it’s on him.
Give Loria this much credit: he’s honest. He does not believe he is in anyway responsible for what’s happened to this team, so he will not pretend to be responsible or sorry for it. I suppose in some strange, awful world there is something noble to that. Problem is, no one besides him believes it, so I don’t think the letter is going to do a thing for him or the team.
The Orioles and closer Zach Britton avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a $6.75 million salary for the 2016 season, Jon Heyman reports. The club has now handled all of its remaining arbitration cases and won’t have to go to a hearing with any players.
Britton, in his second of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $7.9 million while the Orioles countered at $5.6 million. $6.75 million is exactly the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
The 28-year-old lefty saved 36 games in 40 chances last season for the O’s while putting up a 1.92 ERA with a 79/14 K/BB ratio over 65 2/3 innings.
Tacking onto Friday’s report that the Blue Jays will attempt to sign Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to multi-year deals, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the club will try to do the same with third baseman and defending American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that Donaldson’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 15, so the two sides will have 10 days to hammer out a contract.
Donaldson, 30, is entering his second of four years of arbitration eligibility. After earning $4.3 million last season, Donaldson filed for $11.8 million and the Blue Jays countered at $11.35 million. The $450,000 difference isn’t much compared to some of the other disparities among arbitration-eligible players and their respective clubs. Jake Arrieta and the Cubs, for example, had a gap of $6.5 million.
This past season, Donaldson let the league in runs scored and RBI with 122 and 123, respectively, while batting .297.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 41 doubles. He earned 23 of 30 first place votes in AL MVP balloting, with runner-up Mike Trout of the Angels grabbing the other seven votes.
Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.
Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.
Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.
Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.
But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.
Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.
But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.