December 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm by Franklin Rabon under Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, NL East News, Transaction Analysis
A lot of Braves fans have been burning up Twitter with the news of the Marlins apparent signing of Jose Reyes. The main theme is “how is Wren going to respond to this move?! How will we compete?!” My answer is “the same way we were going to in the first place, by making smart, long term sustainable moves.”
First, let’s briefly address the Marlins by making the obvious pun, something is really fishy here. I don’t think the Marlins, in their wildest dreams, believe that things are really going to turn around attendance wise in South Florida. Sure, their will be an initial bump, as curiosity about the new ballpark and weird conglomeration of new faces causes a few people to pack the stadium early on. It’s also hard to make out exactly what will come of the SEC investigation on Loria’s
ripping off south Florida Taxpayers creative public financing for the new stadium.
My belief is that Loria is looking to build some appearance of value based upon the fleecing of the taxpayers for a new stadium and a few big gate seasons and then sell the team before the bottom falls out. That’s just speculation obviously, but a lot is going on here that we’re not privy to, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is taking a look, which is never a good thing.
Even with Reyes, the Marlins have a lot of holes. Nobody is exactly sure of how healthy Josh Johnson is going to be, and even with him, their pitching is shaky at best. The Marlins could field a very dangerous lineup, with their young power talent plus Reyes and Hanley. But that won’t really matter if they get the same pitching they had as last year. Sure, they could contend, but these moves aren’t made at an angle of trying to contend, they’re made at being flashy, generating headlines and publicity.
Another telling sign was the lack of no trade clause. Not because that, in and of itself means much, but because historically the Marlins have handed out no trade clauses. If this had been the Braves, nobody would have thought twice about the lack of a no trade clause, because that is just how the Braves operate. But with the Marlins, it was a deliberate change of strategy. They’re clearly not willing to commit to this ‘spending plan’ for the long haul.
At best, the Marlins and Mets are just switching places right now. Now, if they go out and sign C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, then we’re perhaps talking a different scenario, but I still see that as unlikely. I think because of the trouble the Marlins give the Braves at times, we tend to forget that the Marlins were actually the last place team in the division. They finished 17 games behind the Braves.
Thus, I believe that the notion that the Braves have to “respond” to the Marlins moves is absurd. Will the Marlins be better this year? Absolutely, it’d hard to be a whole lot worse, they lost 90 games last year. However, I don’t really see a world in which they make a quantum leap forward to contention just because they made one splashy and stupid move (Jose Reyes’ contract) and one just plain stupid move (Heath Bell’s contract). The chances are much higher that the Marlins are looking to dump those contracts this season than they are actually contending.
The Atlanta Braves just need to worry about following the long term plan to building and maintaining the club that they’ve been so disciplined with over the past few years. This team needs a couple of nice moves to patch up a few holes, and they’re back in the playoffs, with a shot at winning the world series for several more years. About the only thing that could mess that up is if they tried to “respond to” the signing of Jose Reyes.
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