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Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, reportedly traded to Blue Jays

Less than a year after making a huge splash in free agency, the Miami Marlins reportedly are dismantling their team and sending some of their best — and most expensive — players to the Toronto Blue Jays.

FOXSports.com reporters Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal say that pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle are being traded from the Marlins to the Blue Jays as part of a blockbuster deal. They say shortstop Jose Reyes, who signed a six-year, $106 million deal last offseason, is also part of the trade. Catcher John Buck and utility man Emilio Bonifacio reportedly are also being sent to Toronto. The five players mentioned in the trade are owed nearly $165 million.

The Marlins reportedly are getting back shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, and catcher Jeff Mathis, who all have major league experience. They’re also reportedly receiving infielder Adeiny Hechevarria, left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino, and outfielder Jacob Marisnik, who are all prospects. Alvarez went 9-14 with a 4.85 ERA last season for Toronto. Escobar is coming off the worst season of his career — he had a .644 OPS and career-low 1.8 WAR.

The Marlins began the process of dismantling their new-look team — which included a new stadium, new uniforms, and new team name — after the season ended. They fired manager Ozzie Guillen, and traded high-priced relief pitcher Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks. It looks like they’re in full-on rebuilding mode after going a disappointing 69-93 last season, which has left stud outfielder Giancarlo Stanton “pissed” in his words. The Blue Jays are hoping the additions will help them compete in the challenging AL East.

The Marlins already did not include no-trade clauses in contracts for players, which made them less attractive as a destination for free agents. After seeing the team give up on high-priced players after one year, who would be willing to sign with them in the future?

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Marlins fired Ozzie Guillen, and Ricky Nolasco is ticked

The Miami Marlins announced the firing of manager Ozzie Guillen on Tuesday, and perhaps nobody was more upset over the news than pitcher Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco, who has been with the franchise since 2006 and went 12-13 during the season, tweeted in protest as soon as the move was announced:

By about 30 minutes later, Nolasco had thought better of the tweet and pulled it down. We all know teams don’t like it when players question the front office moves, so he was probably told to take it down, or did it on his own once he calmed down.

Nolasco’s shock aside, this move was inevitable. Guillen was lucky he wasn’t canned in April after publicly expressing his support of Fidel Castro. He was given a chance to turn around what started off as a disappointing season, and he didn’t. The team finished 69-93 — last in the NL East — after spending millions to bring in free agents in anticipation of a move into their new stadium.

Between his bouts with Heath Bell, Bryce Harper, and the team’s owner, Guillen became more of a distraction than anything else.

It’s not a surprise that the Marlins fired him, but it is a surprise they cut him loose despite owing him over $7 million over the next three years. That shows how badly the notoriously cheap owner wanted him gone.

Yankees, Marlins reportedly have discussed A-Rod trade

Alex Rodriguez continues to be a non-factor for the Yankees, and now reports have emerged indicating that the Yankees and Marlins have discussed a potential trade that would send the third baseman/DH to Miami.

Keith Olbermann, writing on his “Baseball Nerd” blog on MLB.com, first reported that the teams have engaged in discussions about the possible trade.

Sources close to both organizations confirm the Yankees would pay all – or virtually all – of the $114,000,000 Rodriguez is owed in a contract that runs through the rest of this season and the next five. One alternative scenario has also been discussed in which the Yankees would pay less of Rodriguez’s salary, but would obtain the troubled Marlins’ reliever Heath Bell and pay what remains of the three-year, $27,000,000 deal Bell signed last winter.

Olbermann did not know how serious the discussions were, but he says a source close to the Marlins believes the trade makes sense for both sides and that a deal would eventually be made.

ESPN New York followed up on Olbermann’s report and noted that Yankees president Randy Levine and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria have casually joked about A-Rod being traded to the Marlins. Here’s how they characterized the conversation:

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Marlins make rookies wear speedos, dress as water polo team for hazing (Pictures)

And the rookie hazing continues. Some rookies get off easy and are forced to dress in Star Wars gear while others have to wear something a little more, shall we say, snug. As you can see from the photo above that Giancarlo Stanton shared on his Twitter account, the Marlins rookies had to wear speedos and dress as the U.S. men’s water polo team on Thursday — the day before they began a series in New York with the Mets. What’s worse is they had to parade through Times Square wearing the grape-smugglers. Here’s another shot:

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Ozzie Guillen is tired of his players complaining about the size of Marlins Park

So many things have gone wrong for the Marlins this season that they might as well start blaming the ballpark. At least that’s how some of the players feel about it. The newly-constructed Marlins Park is considered a pitchers ballpark. It measures 344 feet to left, 334 feet to right and has spots that are 386, 418 and 392 between left and right. That is pretty big, but Ozzie Guillen is tired of hearing it used as an excuse.

“We’ve got to deal with the ballpark, and we’re going to be negative coming in here every day, ‘Oh, this ballpark is too big’?” Guillen said Tuesday according to the Palm Beach Post. “We’ve got to play in this ballpark 81 games and I don’t want to hear any more (from) my players, my hitting coach, nobody with this uniform worry about this place (being) too big. If they think this place is too big, let me know. I’ll put somebody else in who can hit bloopers behind shortstop.”

After hitting a 418-foot fly out that could have won the game for the Marlins on Sunday but instead became the final out, John Buck described the fact that the ball didn’t leave the park as “frustrating” and “disheartening.” Teams have been known to move fences in during the offseason to create more homers, but Guillen said that’s not going to happen in Miami.

“‘I can’t hit home runs here.’ Ha, ha,” Guillen said mocking his players. “We are not going to move the fence. That’s it.”

As Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk alluded to, Ozzie may be surprised. He’s probably getting sick of hearing people blame players that have been traded and now the ballpark dimensions for Miami’s disappointing season, but don’t be surprised if the Marlins move some fences in this winter. Long balls sell tickets, and we all know how much trouble they have doing that.

Photo credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Hanley Ramirez: Are the Marlins winning without me?

Hanley Ramirez may have been a problem in Miami, but he was not the problem. If he was truly a malcontent in the clubhouse and was hurting the team off the field, the Marlins did the right thing by getting rid of him.

On Thursday, Marlins team president David Samson told MLB.com the following when asked why Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers.

“We just realized we couldn’t win with him,” Samson said. “It was that simple.”

When asked about Samson’s comment, Hanley made a pretty good point.

“Now are they winning without me?” he asked according to the LA Times. “I don’t think it’s one guy. If it was me, you know, OK. I had a lot of good memories there. They gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues.”

Ramirez had his fair share of high points and low points in Florida, but he wasn’t the sole reason for either winning or losing. The Marlins had a winning percentage of .464 before trading Hanley this season. Without him, they have a record of 18-28 — or a .383 winning percentage. Trading their star infielder may have been necessary for Miami, but at the moment it appears to be more of a lose with me or lose without my type of situation.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Marlins end show ‘The Franchise’ a week early because of terrible season

This season has been nothing shy of a tremendous disappointment for the Marlins. After bringing in Ozzie Guillen and several high-priced free agents to play in their brand new stadium, Miami is currently dead last in the NL East and more than 20 games out of first place. It initially seemed like their mix of colorful personalities and winning potential would make for great television in Showtime’s original series “The Franchise,” but the latter portion didn’t work out as planned. As a result, the show will be ending a week early.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the Marlins fulfilled their agreement of eight episodes by airing a special preview episode back in April just after Guillen made his controversial comments about Fidel Castro. The final episode was supposed to be on August 29, but instead Wednesday will mark the end of the season.

“There was an option to do more but given the state of our season, it was decided that the original 8 would suffice,” Marlins president David Samson told the Post in a text message.

The show had some entertaining moments like Ozzie’s f-bomb festival before the first game of the season, but there’s something about a team with a 55-67 record that has fallen incredibly short of expectations that makes for poor television. Better luck next year — for both the Marlins and “The Franchise.”

Photo credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE