A Tale of Two Cities
Before the season began, the Miami Marlins blew up their roster, as they are known to do. A year after spending a bunch of money in free agency, the organization tore the team down to the bare bones. They traded away Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson in one single trade, then stripped almost all of the rest of the players making any real money from the roster over the rest of the off-season. They entered the season with a $40 million Opening Day payroll if you don’t count the money they were paying players to play for other teams, and it was only that high because they waited until mid-season to shed Ricky Nolasco‘s $11 million contract.
The highest paid player on the Marlins right now is a tie between Adeiny Hechavarria and Placido Polanco, each making $2.75 million. Greg Dobbs, at $1.6 million, is in a tie for third with Juan Pierre. You get the idea. This is not a team with Major League players, and it is not a team that put any real effort into trying to win baseball games in 2013. This was a roster of prospects and scrubs, with the Marlins doing exactly what people in Seattle accuse the Mariners of doing; going cheap for the primary purpose of making a huge profit.
The Mariners, though, put real effort into trying to field a winning team. They spent the entire off-season replacing young guys with older ones, bringing in a host of veterans who were supposed to help lead the team to a winning record. They gave Felix Hernandez a monstrous contract extension in order to keep him in Seattle. They tried to sign Josh Hamilton, then tried to trade for Justin Upton.
The Mariners spent the entire month of March telling anyone who would listen that they had finally built a team worth watching, a good team full of guys who could hit and were going to change the tide for the organization. This was a roster that was built with the intention of contending in 2013, or at least being good enough to get the fans interested in baseball once again.
As of tonight, the run differential tally:
The M’s tried to keep their pending free agents in order to use the last few months to spin this season as something other than a total failure; it hasn’t worked. This team is really, truly awful. This is the kind of finish that gets people fired.
But, hey, at least they’re using the opportunity to evaluate the young guys who could be part of the next good Mariners team, and not just wasting at-bats on guys who
won’t shouldn’t be here next year. Oh…