The Marlins are a cynical disaster of a franchise with no apparent interest in winning baseball games, and the obviousness of all that has put the actual members of the team in a tough spot. The players on the Marlins still have to go out and play 162 games and pretend like the reason for them taking the field every day is to try win a World Series, despite the fact that the team has been purposefully constructed by its overmatched and matchlessly shameless new ownership to achieve the precise opposite. This is how you end up with manager Don Mattingly straining against the boundaries of credulity while responding to some very reasonable comments from Bryce Harper.
While talking to reporters at spring training yesterday, Harper said that he was shocked to see the Marlins trade away many of their best players in the offseason. He couldn’t really understand why the club traded away Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich—a trio he rightly identified as one of the best outfields in the game—for very little in return. “I thought they were a great team. I thought they just had to add a couple more pitchers and they would’ve been pretty dang good,” said Harper.
Mattingly got wind of these comments and responding by embarrassing himself (via Miami Herald):
“It’s not really his place to comment on us,” Mattingly said. “He doesn’t really know what goes on over here. He may think he does, but he doesn’t know what’s going on over here, what the discussions are. He doesn’t know our players that we know.”
Poor Don. He obviously can’t just come out and say what everyone knows to be true, which is that the Marlins’ new ownership group is a pack of craven financiers with no current interest in winning baseball games. Instead, he has to get into a defensive crouch and imply that Yelich, Ozuna, and Stanton are actually... not good? That it’s actually better to not have them on your baseball team? It’s going to be a long season in Miami.