Sports Outside the Beltway

Marlins-Cabrera Showdown Getting Ugly

It’s chump change, really. Even to the tight-fisted Florida Marlins. The unbreachable chasm is a mere $700,000. But the stepping on dollars to pick up pennies is bound to haunt the fish down the road. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Deatils

In front of hundreds of fans and season-ticket holders during the weekend, Marlins President David Samson and General Manager Larry Beinfest made a point to voice their disappointment that Cabrera blew off the team’s pre-season promotional events.

“(Owner) Jeffrey (Loria) and the rest of us are extremely disappointed that he’s not here with every one of his teammates. All the players are here except Miguel,” Samson said Saturday at FanFest at Dolphin Stadium.

Samson made similar remarks from the podium Friday night at a $200-a-plate awards dinner. Beinfest publicly noted Cabrera’s absence from the podium at a Town Hall meeting on Saturday.

Pitcher Reynel Pinto and infielder Alfredo Amezaga also didn’t attend, but they had excused absences because they were completing winter ball activities. Samson said members of the front office were told by Cabrera’s agents that “he was unable to make it for personal reasons.”

“We’re disappointed, that’s the bottom line. Our organization is disappointed that he wasn’t there with his teammates.


But a source who has spoken with the Cabrera camp said part of the reason he didn’t show up is that he is not happy that the team is taking him to arbitration on Friday over a $700,000 difference.

Cabrera, who made $472,000 last year, wants $7.4 million. The team has offered him $6.7 million.

“If he wins, he’ll be a very rich man and if he loses he’ll be a very rich man. And we’ll all fly back to start spring training,” Samson said.

Samson’s attitude typifies this dispute. To Cabrera, this is about the hassle of arbitration and the confirmation that this team, rather than locking him up with long term security is going to fight their biggest on-field asset over less than five percent of the club’s payroll last year. This kind of attitude leads to resentment, alienation and a departure as soon as is possible for both parties.

Last week, on his Internet radio show, David Pinto speculated that the Marlins and Cabrera were cruising for a showdown. Whether this is due to Cabrera fleeing for more welcoming pastures after the 2009 season, or the Marlins dealing him for young talent before then, the cracks in the foundation of the club’s relationship to their star player began now.

Another player who is wearing out his welcome, may find one of his suitors backing away. While the Astros have not echoed this fan’s sentiment, the potential is there for a club ready to move ahead.

Unfortunately, that arrogance has slithered closer to home. Yep, the new contender for the all-time narcissist crown: Roger Clemens. At least Bonds is somewhat open with his self-importance, but Clemens is more like an extortionist, making middle-of-the-night phone calls to his victim, then not saying anything. Just letting his quarry know that he’s there and in control.

Clemens will be welcome in the Houston clubhouse, but a few more offseasons like the last several will wear out that welcome in short order.

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