There's an article in today's Miami Herald that shows that, even with a new name, a new logo, and a new taxpayer-funded stadium, the Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria are the same organization as ever...
First in the article is Loria responding to a comment by Atlanta Braves manager (and former Marlins manager) Fredi Gonzalez, who said this weekend, "There’s not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone."
Here's Loria's response:
Loria said that if Gonzalez made those comments, "I’m a little surprised because it’s classless — and you can quote me — especially because he was with us for five years and he was a colossal failure. Not nice. Not nice."
The writer notes that Gonzalez managed the last two Marlins teams to finish over .500 -- the 2008 and 2009 teams -- and was fired in June, 2010, with a 34-36 record.
The article then goes on to say that the Marlins are planning on cutting this year's $95 million payroll to "somewhere in the $70-80 million range," and notes that the team already has $65.5 million committed to eight players.
This last part is what is particularly interesting to me, as a Rangers fan, because the three players who are owed the most for 2013 -- Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and Ricky Nolasco -- are starting pitchers who the Rangers have had interest in in the past. With Ryan Dempster likely departing as a free agent after the season, and Colby Lewis not anticipated to be ready for Opening Day, the Rangers currently have two holes in their rotation behind Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland.
While the Rangers supposedly made a strong push for Buehrle this offseason, the Marlins were willing to spend more than Texas, and as he's under contract through 2015 on a heavily backloaded deal that includes a $19 million salary in 2014 and $20 million in 2015, I can't see them being in on him.
Nolasco and Johnson, however, are both under contract for just one more year, with Johnson at $13.75 million and Nolasco at $11.5 million. The Rangers have coveted Johnson in the past, but steered away from him this year because of the Marlins' exorbitant asking price and concerns about his health. Nolasco's results, meanwhile, have never matched his peripherals, and his strikeouts have dropped the past two years.
While neither Nolasco nor Johnson would be a savoir for the rotation, they are both guys that the Rangers could pursue as a potential one-year stop gap as part of a salary dump from the Marlins. I'd keep an eye on the situation this offseason...