Miami Marlins Owner Defends Blockbuster Trade Amid Growing Criticism

Miami Marlins owner Jeffery Loria is on the hotseat after a blockbuster trade that sent most of the team’s superstars and $181 million of payroll to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Marlins trade sent Jose Reyes, pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck, and infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for prospects, ESPN reported. The trade has been criticized as a firesale from the team and, at worst, a ploy to gain public funding for a stadium by acquiring high-priced players that the team never intended to keep.

Loria became agitated Wednesday after reporters questioned Jeffrey Loria on the trade.

“We finished in last place. Figure it out,” he told from the winter meetings in Chicago.

Since July the Miami Marlins have traded 12 major leaguers including most members of the 2012 Opening Day roster.

The current trade has angered many in South Florida, which helped foot the bill for a new stadium on the hopes that the team was turning itself around.

“Everybody in the world wants to talk about the Marlins and the fact they’re now a Triple-A team,” said city commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who opposed the team’s new ballpark project. “The Marlins have lost pretty much all credibility with fans. Even if this trade is a positive move from a baseball standpoint, it won’t be viewed by the general public as a positive move.”

Yahoo! Sports writer Jeff Passan some something more sinister in the Miami Marlins blockbuster trade and the intentions of owner Jeffrey Loria and team president Brian Samson:

“To dump $181 million in salary like they did Tuesday – to trade Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for a few prospects, a bad-attitude shortstop and a backup catcher – was galling even by their standards. And these were two men who for years lied about their finances, lied about their intentions, lied all to get Miami to build them a $634 million ballpark that was supposed to end this wretched cycle of turning a major league franchise into a swap meet.”

Passan sees the failings of Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson as a reflection on commissioner Bud Selig, who has allowed them to remain as owners and craft the Miami Marlins blockbuster trade that gutted the team.

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