At Home Plate: Selig’s response to Marlins trade continues dangerous precedence

When news broke of the proposed 10-player trade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays, the baseball world was in shock. What were the Marlins thinking, just one bad year and already a third firesale in the franchise’s brief history?

Commissioner Bud Selig was not at all happy. The Marlins spent an unprecedented amount of money last offseason to improve their roster in hopes of raising enough revenue to offset the costs of their brand new stadium.

However, now the “Toronto Marlins” are the talk of the league, while it seems Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria is up to his old tricks.

Yunel Escobar (Photo by Keith Allison, used under Creative Commons License)

Yunel Escobar (Photo by Keith Allison, used under Creative Commons License)

As baseball analysts projected how good the Blue Jays would be in 2013, Selig weighed whether to veto the trade. All the hype could have been prevented if Selig put his foot down to prevent a massive salary dump.

Selig’s hands were tied though. It’s extremely rare for an MLB commissioner to veto a trade, especially if the two sides agree to make the deal. He released the following statement:

“This transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs (and) does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion.”

Selig could have had an iron fist concerning this deal, but like he said, the trade itself didn’t break any rules. What could he have done?

If he vetoed the trade, he would have been seen as having too much power, as there has been no such precedent. But by allowing it, he’s not the bad guy, Loria is.

The Marlins owner made all these promises, including verbal no-trade clauses to Jose Reyes and Mark Buerhle, only to go back on his word. It’s not Selig’s fault that Loria has no patience.

After speaking to baseball people, Selig concluded that the Marlins actually got back a talented crop of prospects, meaning the trade was warranted.

As far as Selig’s perspective on the Blue Jays, if a team wants to add all that payroll, it’s their prerogative. The Jays have a win-now mentality, and bringing in Reyes, Buerhle and Josh Johnson can help them compete for a division title.

Selig may be viewed as a coward in some circles for not vetoing the blockbuster deal. But he made the right decision, since he would have received even more heat if he did veto the trade.

Selig must instead take some sort of disciplinary action against the Marlins. He can’t keep allowing these massive salary dumps to take place. Rather than signing players with having the financial backing, teams need to make smarter investments.

Unfortunately, a new precedent was set. Since Selig did not veto the trade, what’s to stop other small market teams from dumping all their high-salaried players in one big trade?

Selig may have a larger problem on his hands.

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