The most ridiculous part about the most ridiculous trade in memory is how quickly the Marlins gave up on themselves, their fans, their players, their new stadium and their city. Sure, there have been salary dumps before. And there will be salary dumps again. But this one broke the land-speed record.
It hasn’t even been a year since the Marlins signed Heath Bell and signed Jose Reyes and signed Mark Buehrle. It has barely been a year since they traded for Ozzie Guillen. It was just months ago that the Marlins ownership and management talked about being all in, this was it, new stadium, new attitude, new name (Miami Marlins! Catchy!), finally the Marlins were going to court and win over Miami. Finally. After 19 years of stops and starts, sudden success and shocking collapse, big payouts and massive sell-offs, the Marlins were going to be relevant. For real. This time.
I’m not saying most people bought into the hype.
But I think even the most cynical people thought the hype would last beyond November.
There’s no mistaking the Marlins’ 12-player trade with Toronto. I spent much of the day on Wednesday at the MLB Network talking about this, and one question that kept coming up was: “Could this actually work out for the Marlins?” And the answer to that is pretty simple: Anything CAN work out. If you put Justin Verlander at catcher it could work out, conceivably.
But I would argue -- not that too many people WOULD argue -- that this trade wasn’t meant to work out, not like that. The Marlins traded Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes to Toronto and did not even get the guy widely viewed as the Blue Jays’ best prospect, Travis d’Arnaud. The best prospect they got in the trade, probably, is outfielder Jake Marisnick, who hit .233 in a half season in Double-A last year but whom scouts think is “toolsy.” That means he might be a star ... and he might not be an every-day big league player. The other prospects don’t have as much upside. But it doesn’t really matter, because this clearly wasn’t a case of building for the future. This was a case of a team looking for someone who would take the financial burden. If they get a player or two out of it, hey, that's a nice bonus.
Maybe the Marlins are just that strapped financially, even though they basically had a new stadium built for them. Maybe they just woke up one day and realized that every single thing they had done the previous season was monumentally stupid, and they wanted to start over as quickly as possible. Maybe ... well, in the end, the reasons don’t matter a lot. The Marlins gave up on the baseball fans of Miami. Not for the first time.
And so, on Twitter just after word of the trade broke, I asked this question: Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game in 2013?
Fortunately, several brilliant readers had ideas on that:
Here's my question: Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game next year?— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) November 14, 2012
To see the Braves and Nats. RT@jposnanski: Here's my question: Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game next year?— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski First 1500 through the gates get Jeff Loria nesting dolls and a chance to play SS for the last three innings— Brimi (@DrBrimi) November 14, 2012
They have no payroll obligations, should be free RT @jposnanski Here's my question: Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game next year?— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski might get called out of the stands to be a defensive replacement in the top of the 8th.— John T. (@tomlinsj2) November 14, 2012
THERE'S A COLORFUL THING THAT LIGHTS UP AND SPINS WHEN A HR IS HIT! RT @jposnanski Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game next year?— Nate (@n8van2) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski > #1 - Stanton batting practice HRs. #2 - ummm... yeah, you're right.— Chris Mackinder (@Chris_Mackinder) November 14, 2012
Those really cool fish tanks? RT @jposnanski Here's my question: Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game next year?— Tim Fitzgerald (@LifeofFitz) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski would YOU want to miss a Jeff Mathis home run? Thought not.— Hasan Paliwala (@hasanpaliwala) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski If you've always wanted to catch a foul ball, not gonna be much competition there.— Steve Carter (@SteveDCarter) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski Why have we gone to a single Royals game in the past 20 years?— Brett Parker (@TheBrettTParker) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski - nice quiet place to get some work done?— Chris Brown (@Ambivalent0) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski While skydiving, a gust of wind pushes them into the stadium?— RationalSportsFan (@RationalSport) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski For "_______________ Bobble-Head Night"— Roy Nouis (@RoyNouis) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski To see the other team. To see the home run sculpture. there's two. Can't think of a third.— Joe Erwin (@Erwin_Joe) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski Billy the Marlin bobblehead day?— Beau (@beaudotgiles) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski You can pretend you're going to an aquarium?— William Tasker (@FlagrantFan) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski To watch Jeff Mathis block the plate?— Bryan (@twoheadedbah) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski Ozzie said it himself -- Stanton was the only reason worth coming out to the ballpark to watch them play THIS year.— Joey Nowak (@joeynowak) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski Also the race between the Astros and the Marlins to see who can get to 100 losses first— Micah J Johnston (@MicahJJohnston) November 14, 2012
That weird sculpture in center field is a fertility idol? RT @jposnanski: Question: Why would anybody go to a single Marlins game next year?— Ryan Tomorrow (@ryantomorrow) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski does the circus still draw decently?— Joe Serrato (@joeserrato1) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski Bat Day, no matter how bad the team is, the bats are always nice— Mark Erbacher (@MarkErb9) November 14, 2012
@jposnanski Did anyone really go to a Marlins game before this?— Kcnickschwieds (@kcnickschwieds) November 14, 2012