In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
Coming up with a nightmare scenario for a team that literally sold off every major free agent acquisition they made last season and then some is no small task. Seriously, what could be more terrifying than the Marlins pulling off one of the most shameless and disgusting fire sales in the history of sports?
Well, there is one way it can be trumped and that is by the franchise doubling down on their efforts to prove how cheap they are and how much they hate their own fans.
First and foremost, say goodbye to Giancarlo Stanton. As one of the best young stars in baseball, Stanton is Miami's lone hope for a franchise player they can quickly build around in a hurry. Or they could really focus on rebuilding for a few years down the line and swap Stanton for a treasure trove of top prospects. Either of those are smart, defensible moves. But this is Jeffrey Loria's Marlins we are talking about here.
Instead of keeping and building around Stanton or trading him for several top notch prospects, Loria would crank the nightmare machine up to 11 by forcing his puppet of a GM to trade Stanton in a package with Ricky Nolasco and his $11.5 million salary. By forcing a trade partner to swallow that big chunk of change that is Nolasco, Miami greatly lessens the quality of the prospects they get in return, a fact that becomes painfully obvious five years down the line when only one of the prospects ever makes the majors and is nothing more than a decent regular. But hey! Don't worry, Loria got to line his pockets with that much extra of the revenue-sharing money the team got! That makes everything better, right?
Never mind the fact that fan favorite Logan Morrison would also be shown the door during the season by being DFA'd and ultimately traded for pennies on the dollar after he mouthed off to the press about his displeasure with the way the team is being run. That's just Loria burning another young asset simply so he can make an example out of him and prevent others from daring to step out of line in the future, as if getting traded out of Miami somehow isn't a good thing at this point.
In fact, by the trade deadline, veterans and youngsters alike are practically begging other teams to acquire them so that they can get off the sinking ship. These are the sort of things that happen to a team on pace on pace to be the first 120+ loss team since the 1962 Mets. You know things are bad when Juan Pierre and Jeff Mathis think you are stink too much to want to stick around.
By season's end, the average attendance for the sad sack Marlins has dipped to a dumbfounding 1,500 in paid attendance. The actual number of folks physically attending the games is but a fraction of that and consists mostly of street urchins who scored a free ticket and hope to use it to get a few hours of sleep in a nice, quiet, dry place. Those hobos come out as the ony real winner of the 2013 Marlins season though.
The final knife twist though comes from the hand of Bud Selig who tries his best to convince Jeffrey Loria to relinquish ownership of the team in the name of the greater good of baseball. Alas, Loria resists and steadfastly refuses to sell. Left with no other recourse, Selig convinces the rest of the owners to vote to contract the Marlins. Thus ends the existence of the Marlins and professional baseball in South Florida forever. There two World Series victories fade into the history books while the fans are left with the lasting memory of a 124-loss season and the image of Loria riding off into the sunset with moneybags hanging from his shoulders and the blood of the franchise dripping from his hands.