Miami Marlins con fans, trade stars to Toronto Blue Jays

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The Miami Marlins are trading 2011 batting champion Jose Reyes, starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and infielder Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar, catcher Jeff Mathis and some prospects.

Don't be fooled. What may seem like an honest effort to rebuild around younger players after finishing last season in the NL East cellar is actually a fire sale. Three years ago, notoriously greedy owner Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins front office convinced the people of Miami and Miami-Dade County to build a $515 million stadium paid for mostly by public money by promising to finally pay to field a competitive team. They got their stadium, and now Loria and company are back to their old ways. After starting last season with a $118 million payroll, the Marlins' payroll this season will be $30 million to $40 million.

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In the trade with Toronto, the Marlins are shedding $181 million in salary, more than Loria had to chip in to pay for the ballpark.

This should surprise no one. Loria destroyed the previous team he owned, the Montreal Expos, so he could move them. Then he bought the Marlins and gutted them after they won a World Series in 2003.

Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB could stop Loria if they wanted to. Last season they forced Frank McCourt to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers. But Selig and MLB but only did so because McCourt was going to accept a low-ball offer for local television rights.

Loria makes McCourt look like Mike Illitch, but the MLB still lets Loria own a team. Bud Selig can still block this trade, but he won't. What does this say about the league? Let us know in the comments.

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