“We’re getting ready for another season, and we’re going to win more,” Marlins president David Samson assured Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida late last week. “I promise you this: We’re not going to lose 100 games next year. Not even close.”
But that doesn’t mean that Marlins fans should be expecting a wheeling-and-dealing type of offseason.
From beat reporter Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
The basic plan in ’14 is to build from around the nucleus of players who endured more than their share of growing pains in a trying 2013.
Miami’s payroll parameters project to mirror the ’13 numbers — about $38 million.
In free agency, the Marlins aren’t expected to be in the market for high-priced players.
Miami tried hard last month for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, but the 26-year-old first baseman wound up scoring a record six-year, $68 million free agent contract from the White Sox. Whatever money Marlins ownership used in that Abreu pursuit will apparently be shifted toward bargain-bin free agent options.
The Marlins do have an impressive core of young players between staff ace Jose Fernandez, power-hitting right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and five-tool center fielder Christian Yelich. But Stanton is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and will continue to get more and more expensive.
Samson and Co. claim the Marlins have a plan. But it’s hard to see it right now.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.