I would like to see baseball commissioner Rob Manfred don his “Bowie Kuhn” cap and veto the trade of Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees, telling us that this trade “Is not in the best interest of baseball.” The systematic dismantling of the Miami Marlins by new owner Derek Jeter is similar to the time when Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley tried to sell of three of his star players…starter Vida Blue, outfielder Joe Rudi and closer Rollie Fingers. Kuhn put the “kibosh” on the sale and there was quite a flurry of back-and-forth comments by Finley and Kuhn.
This case seems quite similar to Oakland’s in that Jeter is just beginning his purge…he is expected to trade away several more of his players. And…oh, by the way, does anybody think that Jeter trading Stanton to his former team is a little fishy?
One way that MLB has tried to prevent a team from “over-spending” on free agents and trade candidates is the so-called “luxury tax”. Teams that exceed the luxury tax threshold is taxed a percentage of the amount they have gone over that limit. The Yankees have exceeded the luxury tax limit over the past four seasons. The penalty for doing so is for a team to be taxed a percentage of the amount over the limit. The first offense is 22.5%, the second offense is 30% and the third…and subsequent offenses is 50%. Over the past several seasons the Yankees have paid nearly $300 million in taxes. Obviously, the luxury cap is not working for them. The Yankees would rather spend the money, make more money and pay the taxes and figuratively stick their tongues out at MLB.
The Yankees are certainly not the only team that has exceeded the luxury tax limit over the past few years. The Dodgers have paid over $81 million in luxury taxes and very nearly “bought” a World Series championship in 2017. Now, the question is: can the “Boys in Blue” make it back to the Fall Classic? Odds are they won’t…last year was the first time since 1988 that the Dodgers went to the World Series…their longest drought in franchise history.
So, is there anything Commissioner Manfred can do to prevent the Marlins from getting rid of all of their talented players? Probably not. The franchise has conducted a “fire-sale” twice before: After the 1997 and the 2003 seasons. Of course, that was a little different: those happened after the Marlins won World Series titles. This time, they are doing it just to get rid of current and future stars.
Rest assured, the people in Miami are not happy all of this is happening. After the team helped finance a new ball park, at a tidy cost of $515 million, fans were hoping the franchise would then put a competitive team on the field. That has not yet happened and probably will not happen for several years to come. Have fun, Mr. Jeter!