Marlins President David Samson: “Better days are coming with a team that’s younger, hungrier and has a chance to win more.”

November 15, 2012 – 8:15 am by Steven Cuce

The fire sale is on in Miami. Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson are all heading north to Toronto while baseball in South Florida could be in major trouble. In December of last year the Marlins were kings of the winter meetings as they were ready to open a new ballpark. Now Miami is doing their best impression of the new movie ‘Skyfall’ in the words of Dan Le Batard.

At this moment the Marlins payroll is around $25 million dollars as the front office will be sure to collect luxury tax money that won’t be put back into the team. Marlins President David Samson discussed his team’s megatrade and did his best to put faith back into an angry Miami fan base or whatever is left of it.

David Samson joined 790 The Ticket in Miami on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz to discuss the decision to trade Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, the evolution of the blockbuster trade, not being embarrassed about the trade, Miami Marlins fans feeling betrayed, the Marlins front office scamming the fans by trading away the team’s best players, the Marlins fan base not trusting the front office any longer, gaining the trust of the Marlins fan base, the Marlins projected payroll for next season, Giancarlo Stanton’s reaction to the blockbuster trade on twitter, free agents not wanting to sign with the Marlins and his message to angry Marlins fan.

When and how did you make the decision to trade all the players?

“Basically the decision was made. We sat down after the season and talked about the team and said we cannot keep finishing in last place. It just doesn’t make sense. We lost 93 games and we entrusted all of our scouts and development people and upper-level baseball people and said, what can we do to possible start this to turn around? What needs to happen? How can it work? All sorts of plans were possible and it just so happens we found a way to possibly in one fell swoop get a whole lot better. I actually recognize that the names coming back in potential trade are not names people are familiar with, but in the baseball world people are familiar with them. As far as I’m concerned and what we hope to happen and plan on happening is winning more games. Each year starting to win more games and that’s what we want to do.”

How did the trade begin?

“I was thinking about some of the calls we had during the season when the team wasn’t playing well. I remember very well that our fans spoke to us and they said they were not happy with what we were doing and what the team was doing. We said where can we start and what kind of flexibility do we need going forward and the baseball guys started talking around and all of a sudden something possibly came to fruition.’’

Is any part of you embarrassed today?

“To lose 93 games was the most embarrassing thing, far more embarrassing than this, putting together a team in 2012 that we expected to win and the fact that they didn’t that was the most embarrassing. I think when we made the managerial decision and made the player decisions we made last year we could not have dreamt that our season could end that way. We said listen it’s time to change. Embarrassed is how our team finished this past season.”

What do you say to the people who feel betrayed?

“I think people should feel betrayed by the fact we were losing so much, I would think they wouldn’t want us to stand pat and keep losing. We don’t want to be one of those teams that for 20 years doesn’t win 81 games or doesn’t make the playoffs or doesn’t make the playoffs. We’ve already gone 10 years without making the playoffs. That’s too much. I absolutely understand that. On the positive side, it’s a great ballpark and now we need a great team to go with it and we thought we had it last year and the evidence was overwhelming that we didn’t.’’

What it looks like is you got a new stadium, you got your deal  and you pulled the equivalent of like a Ponzi Scheme where a year after spending it you have sold everybody a sham? You say what to those people?

“What I say to them is we spent it wrong. It showed with everything off the field and on the field. I don’t blame more fans for not coming out because who wants to see 93 losses. The fact is we think we have a young team now that may be hungrier and should win more. The difference in Montreal, there was no ballpark, there was no future. There is a long term future for baseball in Miami. That’s what the ballpark has always been about was making sure an All Star game can come to Miami, making sure that generations will see baseball. There are going to be losing seasons over the course of the years. You just want to try to curb it with as few as possible and in our opinion we were having too many in a row.’’

You don’t have a pitching staff. A year ago at this team, the vision was that Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez and Mark Buehrle are going to carry us. That’s what was being sold a year ago. Why should anybody trust you guys now?

“That’s exactly what we said and that’s exactly what did not happen. That’s the whole issue. If we had all of those starters pitching to where we thought they would pitch, then I don’t think we are losing 93 games. That’s my exact point. The fact of the matter is we think we are in a better position to win more games. I hear you: It’s the names. But at the end of the day the names added up to 93 losses. So, shame on us if we go at it the same way.’’

Why should people trust you guys? There’s little reason to trust you:

“Do you mean trusting the fact that we chose the right players? Now, I will give you that we haven’t been choosing the right players recently. But the faith we have in our scouts and in our upper baseball management come to our fans with names of players to win more games, we still have that faith. They have been with us along time and they were a big part of how we got a World Series ring in 2003, so we have to trust them.’’

The payroll is slated to be $16 million dollars. What will the payroll be next year?

“Those numbers aren’t right Dan. Those stats aren’t accurate. [Dan Le Batard: Well right now you have to go to arbitration with guys]  I’m not sure what range the payroll will end up at but I know we will have the players in place and hopefully we will do better than last year. That’s what it’s about. We tried the higher payroll and ended up losing more games. So whatever the payroll is, the real important part is having better players. [Dan Le Batard: Do you understand when I don't get an answer the fans won't believe you]. It’s been 10 years. Most teams don’t talk about a final payroll number. Our reason is the final number isn’t relevant. What’s matter at the end of the day is not the payroll. It was 69-93. At the end that’s all anyone focused on. Let’s not forget how much money Jeffrey Loria himself put in – over $160 million of his money to get a ballpark built, which has been a very positive thing and will continue to be long after all of us are gone.’’

What was your reaction to Giancarlo Stanton getting so angry on twitter?

“Honestly I had none. He’s a good young player. I don’t expect players to be anything other than emotional. I get that. I didn’t even call him about it.’’

Why should free agents sign here? If Mark Buerhle and Jose Reyes thought they were signing up for more than a year in Miami and then are traded after a year, I think you’ve got a free-agency problem going forward. Don’t you?

“At the end of the day players do come where the money is. That’s okay. I spoke to Mark Buehrle. He said he was sorry things didn’t work out. I said I’m as sorry as you are that things didn’t work out. If there was a year to not lose 93, it was last year. It was just the perfect storm starting with the Castro comment moving to the fact we couldn’t win. It all snowballed. That was the tone and he was the only one I spoke to. Larry Beinfest spoke to the others.”

You say what specifically to the angry Marlins fan today who feels bilked, betrayed?

“I can tell you that I hope that you believe you were not satisfied last year and the year before in last place you weren’t satisfied and that better days are coming with a team that’s younger and hungrier and has a chance to win more. That’s our goal every year.”

Listen to David Samson on 790 The Ticket in Miami here [Interview begins at the 2:01:00 mark of the podcast]

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  1. 10 Responses to “Marlins President David Samson: “Better days are coming with a team that’s younger, hungrier and has a chance to win more.””

  2. It’s time for Loria to go.

    Rick Scott, Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, etc. all need to use their clout to pressure the SEC enforcement, including white collar time behind bars, to force the sale.

    Why was it SO easy for force Patreus to resign for cheating on his wife? Yet so difficult to force Loria out for cheating on the 2.5M residents of Miami-Dade county?

    By Fish Fan on Nov 15, 2012

  3. Le batard says they have no pitching now. 2 things:

    1. Johnson will never be the pitcher everyone thinks/wants him to be. Buerhle is only getting older. Samson is right, all those guys lost 93 games last year. It’s not like they broke up the Beatles. However good those guys were supposed to be, the proof is in the crappy record. Tell me die hard Marlins fans, how many of you were stalwartly showing up to games in September?

    2. The Marlins will have actual great pitching a la this years As in a year or two. You have Jose Fernandez who is possibly the best pitcher in the minors not named Bundy. Now you have 3 really high upside guys in Turner, Eovaldi and Nicolino. So do some research before you declare this trade to be criminal.

    By Travis on Nov 15, 2012

  4. This is the sound of BULLSHIT

    By Cj on Nov 15, 2012

  5. I was a little miffed by the move, but I think this interviewer is harsh and not very professional.

    One thing is for certain, the Marlins brass are not afraid to take risks. With risks, come great rewards, and great suffering.

    Good luck to them.

    By Givejonadollar on Nov 15, 2012

  6. hey marlins fans – i know this is hard all and all as i have watched my team not make the playoffs for almost 20 years. As a true Jays fan, you were not fleeced. Hech is a very exciting ss who plays superior d to reyes. still very young with good upside. look at his stats last year he got better and better each week offensively and his d is to die for. nicolino won midwest player of the year for a reason. marsinick as well was our second best prospect. we also had one if not the best minor system in mlb. although jays finally took risk, your team tends to do so regularly. i wish more teams had the balls to do what marlins did. only comparison i have is Indy letting Peyton walk and the way colts fans felt… and if my team was healthy and lost 93 games i would want most if not all gone…

    By ike on Nov 15, 2012

  7. I’m sorry, but this is a complete joke. I’m not even a Marlins fan and I could make this team a winner. Not only could I make this team a playoff contender in three years, but I’d do at 1/10th the price that the Marlins are paying these so-called experts in their front office. Let me bring in a small crew, and not only will the team be successful, the stadium will be packed and strong source of revenue.

    By MikeH_TSP on Nov 15, 2012

  8. Don’t try and sell the fans a bill of sales.. Buehrle was a .500 pitcher with a fairly low era of 3.74. Johnson was 8-14 true, But era was 3.81 and was 7.79K per 9 innings. Both pitchers allowed less hits than innings pitched. Both pitchers pitched almost 200 innings each. Sanchez was almost .500, era at 3.94, 8.18 K/9….There was nothing wrong with the pitching , it was there ok? Problem was they made too much money. Hitting stats were somewhat low but it’s deceiving. Due to lack of games played. Part time players Ruggiano(.313), Solano(.295), Infante (.287) and a couple of others were the only ones that hit for average. How can you not like Reyes’ numbers? 37 doubles, 11 triples, 184 hits, 40 sb’s, .287 avg, nice numbers. And finally, only 4 hitters played over 100 games. Stanton, Reyes, Dobbs, and Buck. That’s where your problems were…. So don’t blame the players per say…Injuries hurt a lot….. But the players they kept, are All making low salaries, so they made the high paid players the scapegoats…. Facts dont lie. Stats dont lie. It was All money and nothing more. He was cutting salaries just so he can line his pockets with huge profits starting next year. I grew up in Montreal, was a season ticket holder there and saw first hand what he did there. The minute all those draft picks became studs, he got rid of them just so he didn’t have to pay them. This last season was a mere ploy to generate interest, get fans to spend and put on a show that he was serious about the team, but fact is he had no intentions of keeping these players. Loria’s a complete joke. Selig should morally pull the team from him. He killed baseball in Montreal, and he’s about to do the same in Miami.

    By Steve on Nov 15, 2012

  9. Being a Jays fan since our inception, yes I am very excited. My fear is that Selig will void the deal. I understand why the Miami fans are upset, any of us would feel the same way. To better understand our angle, we haven’t had ownership support this type of spending since 93. Yes Ricciardi convinced them 5 years ago to dump cash on BJ Ryan and AJ Burnett, but those guys were overpaid in relevance to the rest of the free agent class at the time. Basically, they stunk. If anything, this will make the Marlins inherit a ton of fans up north, we are rooting for you Miami, go out and win 85 games this year. Not to prove Loria right as he’s a tool, but embrace the young team and watch these guys turn into all stars. Take care Miami, we are fans of the Marlins too.

    By JimmyT on Nov 15, 2012

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