JUPITER, Fla. – Baseball players’ union head Tony Clark claims the Marlins’ rebuilding decision is different from the ones that led to World Series titles for the Chicago Cubs and Houston because Miami broke up a competitive club.
“Those teams didn’t tear themselves down,” Clark said Friday. “Those teams went through rough stretches. And then they added, too. When you start with a team that has a number of talented players and you tear that down, it’s a different conversation than starting from scratch and building up.”
The union filed a grievance two weeks ago against Miami, Pittsburgh, Oakland and Tampa Bay, accusing them of not properly using money received in revenue sharing to improve their team’s ability to win.
After the Marlins were sold in October to Bruce Sherman’s ownership group, the management team headed by former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter traded NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon for prospects.
Clark said those decisions impacted the free agent market and “can be a detriment to the industry as a whole.”
Miami went 77-85 last season with payroll of about $117 million for its 40-man roster. The Marlins last had a winning season in 2009 and have not reached the playoffs since winning the 2003 World Series.
Miami’s home attendance of 1.65 million last season was 28th among the 30 teams, ahead of only Oakland and Tampa Bay.
Clark played 15 major league seasons, including a 2004 stint with the New York Yankees when he was a teammate of Jeter, who says the low-drawing Marlins have been losing money at an unsustainable level.
“Do I respect the fact that Derek wore a uniform and accomplished what he accomplished on the field? Without question,” Clark said. “My concern are those players in those locker rooms and the 1,160 that are in the other 29.”
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