Four months is all it took. There was no MLB World Series title like in 1997 and 2003. The Miami Marlins are back in fire-sale mode, and they are only two-thirds of the way through their first season in a new ballpark - financed by south Florida taxpayers, no less.
For all the money the Marlins threw at free agents (nearly US$200 million (Dh734.6m) to Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell) this season has been a disaster. It started in April when manager Ozzie Guillen insulted the Cuban-born fanbase with comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Then a 21-8 record in May was followed by an 8-18 June.
This week, in a span of 36 hours, the Marlins traded starting second baseman Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez to Detroit and third baseman Hanley Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Josh Johnson, their star pitcher, could be next on the trading block.
Team president Larry Beinfest insists it's "restructuring" not "dismantling." And the Marlins might actually be onto something with Jacob Turner, the pitching prospect they got from the Tigers.
On Wednesday, the day of the Ramirez trade, 36,711 fans came to Marlins Park for a game. It was a record crowd, but before the Marlins could gain false security about their fans' reaction, Wednesday was "Kids Day," with discounted tickets for groups from local camps.
The attendance figure rang hollow, just like the team's rhetoric last winter.
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