While the chorus grows louder in South Florida for the controversial Toronto Blue Jays-Miami Marlins deal to be overturned, baseball commissioner Bud Selig appears unlikely to do so.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday at the end of owners’ meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Selig said he is sensitive to the concerns of the Marlins’ fans after team owner Jeffrey Loria approved a 12-player exchange with the Blue Jays that stripped Miami of three star players in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson.
Many fans in the Miami area see the move as a betrayal coming less than a year after the opening of Marlins Park, a $634-million (all currency U.S.) project largely built with public funds.
Selig said the trade, which has yet to be finalized pending players’ physical exams, has not formally reached his office for review.
“What I can say to you today is I have the entire matter under review,” Selig told reporters. “That’s as much as I have today.”
Selig has the power to veto any deal if he deems it is not in the “best interests” of baseball.
However, there is a growing belief that Selig will allow the deal to go through, especially after he failed to find any problem with last season’s trade between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox, in what was viewed as a blatant salary dump, sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers, who were in the hunt for a playoff spot.
“It’s a good analogy,” Selig said. “That’s a fair analogy.”
New York Yankees president Randy Levine said he saw nothing wrong with the deal.
“There’s a collective bargaining agreement,” he said. “As far as I understand, everyone’s following the rules. Teams are allowed to do what they want to do.”
In return for Reyes, Buehrle and Johnson the Blue Jays are giving up infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez and several top prospects.
Selig believes the Marlins did not get fleeced.
“I’ve talked to two baseball people who have, actually, an interesting view on the trade,” Selig said. “They think that [Miami], in terms of your players, did very well. These are two independent baseball people. These are not chefs in the kitchens here.
“So I want to think about all of it and I want to review everything. I want to be my usual painstaking, cautious, slow, conservative self in analyzing it. There’s a lot of variables here.”
Selig said his decision will be based on what’s best for the game.
“So when I say I have this matter under review and I’ve talked to a lot of our people and I’ve spent a lot of time here in between all the other meetings, that’s exactly what I mean,” he said. “It is under review.
“I am aware of the anger, I am. I’m also aware that in Toronto they’re very happy.”
With a report from The Associated Press