(Reuters) - Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday he was reviewing the controversial trade in which the Miami Marlins would move some $160 million worth of players to the Toronto Blue Jays for a batch of young prospects.
“What I would say to you today is that I have this entire matter under thorough review,” Selig told reporters at the close of the MLB owners meetings in Chicago.
The trade, in which the Marlins would package a group of high-priced players, including shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, produced an outcry from Miami fans and the community.
They were upset that public money accounted for most of the costs of a brand new stadium for the Marlins with the impression the franchise owners would field a competitive team.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria did add some costly free agent talent in Reyes and Buehrle in the previous off-season, but did not get results on the field in 2012, finishing in last place in the National League East with a 69-93 record.
“I want to think about it and review everything. I want to be my usual painstaking, cautious, slow, conservative self and analyze it. There are a lot of variables here,” said Selig.
”I am aware of the anger (in Miami), and I‘m also aware that in Toronto they’re very happy.
“As I told the owners today, my job is to do what’s in the best interests of baseball,” added the commissioner, who has the power to take action should he decide a violation has occurred.
One exercise of that executive privilege was made by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in the 1970s when he disallowed the sale of prospective free agents by Oakland Athletics’ owner Charles Finley to the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, declaring they were not in the best interests of baseball.
“There are many variables in a trade, trades are different,” Selig explained. “Money going different ways...”
”In a trade where it’s just for cash, that’s a different story. That’s easy.
“Other than that, owners have to make their own decisions and that’s not up to the commissioner, but I will talk to a lot of baseball people. The questions are fair (from the Miami) fans. It’s a subject that I‘m extremely sensitive to.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Julian Linden