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Lou Piniella: Blue Jays raped the Marlins in blockbuster trade over the winter

Lou-PiniellaRetired MLB manager Lou Piniella signed a deal to work as a commentator for the YES Network this year. The regular season has yet to begin, but on Wednesday we got a taste of why someone who is a little rough around the edges like Piniella may be better off in the dugout than the broadcaster’s booth.

During the third inning of a spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the subject of how much the Toronto Blue Jays improved over the offseason came up. Like most of us, Piniella feels that the Blue Jays got the best of the blockbuster deal that brought them Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Lou just needs to learn how to appropriately express himself.

“Well they just, I don’t want to use the word ‘raped,’ but they basically took a lot of talent from the Miami Marlins,” Piniella said. “Toronto will probably be picked to win the (AL East) by a lot of people.”

Yikes. It was smart of Piniella to not want to use the word “raped,” but the not using it part is more important than the thought itself. If “Talladega Nights” taught us anything, it’s that you can’t just whatever you want simply because you lead into by saying “with all due respect.”

We love you, Lou. We loved your managing style and your uncanny ability to fly off the handle. But the next time your instinct tells you not to say something, it’s probably best to just bite your tongue.

For audio of Piniella’s slip-up, click here.

The Miami Marlins have officially resorted to giving away free tickets

Marlins-park-sculptureIf you thought the Miami Marlins had trouble putting fans in the stands in years past, wait until you get a load of what they are doing this year. Now that the team has decided to fire Ozzie Guillen and trade Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the Toronto Blue Jays, interest in the upcoming season seems lower than ever. Aside from Giancarlo Stanton, there isn’t much that is going to inspire Marlins fans (if there are any) to attend a game.

However, we have some good news for those Marlins fans who actually enjoy attending games at the brand new ballpark the team just built in Miami. If you purchase a ticket to the Marlins home opener against the Atlanta Braves on April 8th, you will receive a ticket to any other game of your choice — on the house.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins ran a promotion last year where fans who purchased a season-ticket package would be entered into a lottery for a chance to score a ticket to the first ever game at the new Marlins Park. Now that the park is a full year old, the team can’t even give tickets away.

Marlins president David Samson season ticket sales have fallen to under 5,000 this season from 12,000 last year. The home opener on April 8 still isn’t sold out. The Marlins are a Major League Baseball team, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they’re shooting human beings out of cannons in an attempt to get people to come to the ballpark.

H/T Big League Stew

Jose Reyes: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told me to buy house two days before trade

When Jose Reyes makes his debut with the Toronto Blue Jays this season, he will be playing for his third team in as many years. Bouncing around from team-to-team can be challenging, but such is the life of a professional athlete. However, Reyes insists Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria tried to make life more difficult for him than it had to be.

In addition to assuring Reyes that the Marlins would never trade him, the shortstop says Loria was telling him to buy himself a nice house in Miami right up until two days before he was traded to Toronto.

“He always told me to get a nice house in Miami,” Reyes said, via Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. “I was at a dinner with him in New York, and he was still talking about the house.

“Two days later, I got traded.”

Reyes said he was so stunned by the news that he had been traded after the discussion he and Loria had at dinner that he thought someone was playing a prank on him. He quickly realized it was the real deal, and he said he has not spoken to Loria or any of Miami’s management since.

As for the Marlins themselves, Reyes said he feels badly for the city and its fans.

“I feel sorry for the fan base in Miami,” he said.

Why does that sound so familiar? Maybe because he said the exact same thing about the New York Mets last season. Luckily, Reyes said he did not purchase a home in Miami and is not planning to buy one in Toronto. With the way he has been shipped from place to place over the past several seasons, that’s probably a wise decision.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Marlins prospect Jose Fernandez did not know new manager Mike Redmond’s name

Jose-Fernandez-MarlinsMike Redmond will make his MLB managing debut with the Miami Marlins in 2013, so it would be understandable if the casual fan has never heard of him. The former catcher spent 13 seasons in the majors and won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, but that was before Miami prospect Jose Fernandez’s time.

Fernandez, the top pitching prospect in the Marlins system according to Baseball America, was asked a general question about Redmond on Tuesday and it caught him off guard. Simply put, he had no idea what Miami’s new manager’s name was.

“Can you talk about how Mike Redmond was here today?” Local 10’s Alyana Cristal asked Fernandez on Tuesday.

“Who?” the puzzled youngster replied.

Video of the humorous exchange can be seen here. Someone then informed Fernandez that Redmond is now the manager of the MLB club that he aspires to pitch for one day.

“Oh, okay. I don’t know his name, I just met him,” Fernandez said. “I just met him a bit ago. We had a meeting so he passed by at the meeting and introduced himself. He’s pretty nice.”

Clearly he didn’t make a fantastic impression. Redmond obviously isn’t as famous or as big a personality as Ozzie Guillen was, but one would think the top prospect in a minor league system would know the name of the highest-ranking manager in the organization. If Fernandez still doesn’t know who Redmond is by April, then we can start worrying.

Marlins not looking to trade Giancarlo Stanton, but will reportedly listen to offers

Ever since the Miami Marlins decided to basically start from scratch and throw most of what they did this past offseason out the window, no one has been more unhappy than Giancarlo Stanton. The 23-year-old outfielder is one of the brightest young stars in the game, and he is not thrilled about having to be part of a rebuilding project.

When Miami traded Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes to the Blue Jays, Stanton immediately took to Twitter to rip his team for the move. He offered no apologies several days later, reiterating the fact that he is unhappy with the team’s approach and feels sorry for the fans. Many believe Stanton wants to be traded, but the Marlins are unlikely to deal him. That doesn’t mean the phone lines aren’t open.

“We’ve never not listened to a deal on any player,” assistant GM Dan Jennings told Jim Bowden on SiriusXM radio, via the Palm Beach Post. “We’ve always been willing to listen… But what we are not going to do is move a player for less than what we value their ability. And Giancarlo Stanton, you’ve got a 22-year-old guy we think going forward has got a chance to be a .300 hitter and (hit) 50 home runs and be a guy who is a big-time run producer.

“While we are not shopping him, certainly not looking to move him, yeah, if someone knocked on our door and said, ‘Hey, will you guys consider this and this and this,’ you have to listen.”

Stanton belted 37 homers and drove in 86 runs last season to go along with his .290 batting average. He’s under team control for several seasons, so any team that wanted him would have to offer — at minimum — a boatload of top prospects. That being said, players generally get their way. If Stanton puts up enough of a stink, there’s always a way he can force himself out of town.

Photo credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Poll: 87 percent of Marlins fans feel ‘furious and betrayed’

Over a week has passed since the Miami Marlins agreed to a massive trade that sent most of their top players to the Toronto Blue Jays, and the team’s fans are still fuming.

The Miami Herald spoke to 400 Major League Baseball fans — 90 percent of whom were self-described Marlins fans — for a poll, and they learned that the majority of the fans are really upset with the team and owner.

83 percent of those polled by the Herald had an unfavorable opinion of team owner Jeffrey Loria. Of the six percent who had a favorable opinion of him, six say they know him personally.

95 percent of those polled viewed the Blue Jays trade as a fire sale, while only four percent believed the trade was made to make the team better.

10 percent of fans say they are no longer fans of the team following the trade.

Fans described Loria as a “greedy crook,” a “leech,” and “lousy.”

That sounds about right. We somewhat mocked Marlins fans for only having five fans show up at a protest, but we acknowledged they had the right idea in mind.

There were so many questionable aspects of the Marlins’ trade.

While the deal could make them a better team in the future, it’s impossible to get past how unethical and deceitful it was. The team backloaded the contracts for the players they signed so they wouldn’t have to pay them the big annual salaries. They also shed the payroll as soon as their agreement to be reviewed by MLB expired, ostensibly so they can pocket their revenue sharing money rather than spend it on the on-field product. Lastly, and perhaps most egregiously, they had the city fund the stadium based on a promise that they would be competitive. It’s impossible to get around that point.

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk

Angry Marlins fans staged a protest … and only five people showed up

A group of Miami Marlins fans decided to stage a protest of the franchise on Tuesday, but in typical Marlins fashion, the crowd was sparse.

Brendan Tobin, a producer at 790 The Ticket in Miami, decided to head down to the protest, which was publicized and organized on Facebook. He snapped the two photos you see of the five fans in attendance.

The fans have the complete right idea by protesting the team, but unfortunately they didn’t put together a very compelling crowd. We support their mission.

The Marlins deceived MLB and its fan base by re-branding last year with a new name, stadium, and uniforms, and by signing a slew of new players, and then blowing it all up after one unsuccessful season. That happened despite the team’s promise to the city, whose funds were used to finance the new Marlins Park stadium, that they would field a competitive team.

As if dismantling the team wasn’t deceitful enough, the fact that the Marlins backloaded their contracts to the players they signed last season made it seem like this was all part of a carefully planned backup option. Additionally, the Marlins come out looking extra slimy now that we’ve learned their agreement with MLB to spend their revenue sharing money expired right before they made the blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays in a massive salary dump.

It’s sad that only five fans showed up to protest the team on Tuesday, but what the Marlins have done to the fans is even sadder. Jeffrey Loria should be forced to sell the team. He is corporate evil personified.

Another photo via Tobin is below:

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