Had a different bidder purchased the Miami Marlins, superstar Giancarlo Stanton might have remained in Florida. Instead, the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter group, which outbid several rivals and bought the team for $1.2 billion, traded the superstar outfielder to the New York Yankees earlier this month. The new owners are intent on scaling back payroll.
Stanton signed a back-loaded, 13-year, $325 million contract with the Marlins and its owner Jeffery Loria in 2014, which the new ownership determined was unaffordable, given that the group aims for a payroll maximum of $90 million. Lackluster fan support is a significant part of the cash flow challenge for the Marlins, as it is for their American League counterpart, the Tampa Bay Rays, which traded its homegrown star and franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria about a week ago to the San Francisco Giants. In a Catch-22, trading established stars and popular players will likely exacerbate the box-office shortfall, however. The Marlins moved to a new stadium, Marlins Park, in 2012, but attendance still lags most other MLB teams.
The Yankees, a.k.a. the Evil Empire, are now reportedly on the hook for about $265 million of the $295 million left on Stanton’s contract, with the Marlins agreeing to chip in about $30 million as part of the deal. The 2017 National League MVP and lifetime.268 hitter, Stanton blasted 59 home runs last season, along with 132 RBI.
Stanton broke into the big leagues with the-then Florida Marlins in June 2010.
In recent days, the Marlins also traded away second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners and left fielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals. According to MLB Trade Rumors and other outlets, the team is listening to offers for center fielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto.
According to Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson, things could have worked out differently under another boss.
“Miami businessman Jorge Mas conveyed to me this month that if his Marlins offer had been accepted, he would have had a $130 million payroll in 2018, retained Giancarlo Stanton and hired a new general manager…Wayne Rothbaum, who had a good chance to buy the team before one of his $200 million investors dropped out late, did not return phone calls regarding what he would have done as Marlins owner. But a Major League Baseball source said his understanding was that the deep-pocked Rothbaum hadn’t planned to slash payroll in 2018 and was prepared to absorb substantial losses initially.”
Rothbaum allegedly planned to cut back on pay for front-office executives and allocate the cash to player salaries and the minor league system, Jackson added.
Jeter, the former Yankee, and current Marlins CEO, reportedly only invested $25 million in the Marlins transaction. If his $5 million a year salary is accurate, he will have paid himself back for the ownership stake in just five years. Jeter recently held a town hall meeting with Miami Marlins season ticket holders, and it didn’t go so well, with many fans expressing disagreement with the direction the team is headed. Winners of the 1997 and 2003 World Series, the Miami Marlins have a history of dismantling the player roster in a “fire sale” because of red ink.