Looks like Ozzie Guillen got fired just in time.
The Miami Marlins are dumping salary again, another embarrassing chapter for a team that makes a habit of embarrassing itself.
Multiple sources are reporting that it's a done deal: The Marlins are trading their star shortstop (2011 batting champ Jose Reyes, whom they just signed to a six-year contract last winter), their best two starting pitchers (Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle), their catcher (John Buck) and their most versatile player (Emilio Bonifacio) to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, veteran catcher Jeff Mathis and four minor-league prospects.
The 2013 Blue Jays become an instant contender in an AL East in which all five teams should be very good. The 2013 Marlins become a candidate for the worst team in MLB history.
This is one of the most uneven trades ever, another huge salary dump for a team with a beautiful new ballpark financed by South Florida taxpayers. And the Marlins probably aren't done, either. Ricky Nolasco is apparently next, CBSSports.com reports. The stadium just might be the only reason to go to a Marlins game next season.
Nathan Eovaldi is the likely Opening Day starter. His career record is 5-15.
This trade rivals their shameful dump in 1998, when the Marlins dismantled a team that went 92-70 and won the 1997 World Series, then won an incredible 38 fewer games a year later, going 54-108.
The 2012 Marlins were 69-93. What will the victory total for the 2013 Marlins be? 50? 45? 40? The roster could look like Giancarlo Stanton and last year's Jacksonville Suns. (And if you're Stanton, you have to wish the Marlins would trade you, too. He'll certainly a lot of protection in the batting order from Bryan Petersen and Gorkys Hernandez.
As a pro sports owner, the Marlins' Jeffrey Loria is not as bad as Cleveland Cavaliers "legend" Ted Stepien -- the NBA actually had to create rules to keep Stepien from trading every draft pick the team had for a decade -- but Loria seems to be closing in, and fast. The Florida market is a fickle one to begin with, making the Marlins' task a tough one. But the Tampa Bay Rays are now an annual contender, even in a smaller market with an outdated ballpark, because they built their franchise the correct way. The Marlins are the antithesis of that.
Wrote the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers: "Will this be a death blow for a franchise that was struggling to gain a foothold? You wonder."