Money can't always buy success, Miami deal shows

Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:08pm EST
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spending vasts amount of money is no guarantee for instant success, as the Miami Marlins discovered. Now, the team's owners are under fire for a proposal to trade their most expensive players to Toronto.

Major League Baseball executives on Wednesday were still poring over terms agreed by the two sides before approving a swap that would shift high-priced players including Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Marlins to the Blue Jays and slice some $160 million off Miami's payroll.

The proposed deal, which unsurprisingly produced howls of protest from Miami fans and squeals of delight in Toronto, comes about three months after the Red Sox unloaded about a quarter of a billion in salaries in a mega-deal with the Dodgers.

"It's very hard to referee owners who have their own sense of their best interest," former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent told Reuters in telephone interview on Wednesday.

"What we're really seeing is the natural development of the response to enormous baseball salaries."

Of course, it is individual owners who have chosen to pay the freight on free agents, even when shown the example of the 2012 Oakland Athletics, who dethroned two-time American League champion Texas Rangers as division champions despite having the league's lowest payroll.

The trade figures to turn Toronto into instant contenders, fortifying the starting rotation with Johnson and Buehrle, and adding an electrifying talent in four-time All Star shortstop Reyes (11 home runs, 57 RBIs, 40 steals, .287 and 12 triples).

Given last season's resurgence in Baltimore, where the Orioles improved by 24 games to win a wildcard playoff berth, the rise of the Blue Jays will put even more pressure on the Red Sox to get better or flounder in the AL East, which also the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays poised to make a run for it.   Continued...

Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes (R) celebrates with teammate Gil Velazquez after Reyes scored the winning run over the New York Mets on a bases loaded 11th inning single by teammate Donovan Solano during their MLB National League baseball game in Miami, Florida, October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Skipper