Rounding Third: Time for MLB to pull the plug on Loria

Commissioner Bud Selig is not going to overturn the blockbuster deal between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays.

You can argue competitive balance all you want, but there's really no basis to it.

But, Selig has to step in and do something about Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

In case you haven't heard the deal, it goes something like this. Miami will send shortstop Jose Reyes, righty Josh Johnson, lefty Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for a seven-player package highlighted by shortstop Yunel Escobar, lefty Henderson Alvarez, and a few prospects, including highly regarded Adeiny Hechavarria.

Forget the fact that the Marlins made the trade. That's a part of baseball. Nobody seemed to bat an eye last summer when Boston Red Sox took a blowtorch to their roster.

The difference here and the vitriol that is being directed Loria's way is how he duped taxpayers into building his team a new stadium. Overall, Marlins Park cost Miami and Dade County over $500 million. However, counting debt and interest payments, the cost will in the end amount to $2.4 billion.

Nobody seemed to mind footing that bill last winter when Loria doled out $191 million to ink Reyes, Buehrle and closer Heath Bell, who by the way was also dealt a few weeks back.

Loria and the Marlins even flirted with Albert Pujols last winter, only to see those talks dissipate due to the Marlins' unwillingness to give him a full no- trade clause. Perhaps we all should have paid a little more attention to that.

Then you take a look at the heavily backloaded deals that Reyes (6-year, $106 million), Bell (3-years, $27 million) and Buehrle (4-year, $58 million) inked and we should have known something was up. Reyes will only be paid $20 million through the first two years of his contract, Buehrle made only $6 million last season and Bell will earn $18 million over the final two years of his contract.

Loria left himself an out should this team fail. And it did. The Marlins won only 69 games last season. Now they have a pre-arbitration payroll of around $16 million and that includes righty Ricky Nolasco's $9 million for this coming season.

And now the City of Miami is left holding the bag on a stadium that Loria hopes to fill with the likes of Escobar, who was suspended last year for gay slurs. That should go over real well in Miami.

MLB dismisses Mark Cuban as a potential owner, but seemingly protects a clown like Loria. By doing so, it does an incredible disservice to the game and to its fans and it's time Selig does something.

Let's also remember this isn't the first time Loria has pulled the rug out from under a franchise. Before he was with Miami, Loria was the owner of the Montreal Expos. When he didn't get a new stadium there, he sold the team to Major League Baseball in 2002 while simultaneously purchasing the Marlins from John Henry, who bought the Red Sox to complete the deal.

That sale to the league was the beginning of the end for the Expos, who were in D.C. three years later.

Now playing devil's advocate here, maybe Loria is clearing all this space to make a run at outfielder Josh Hamilton. Or maybe he is hoping to fill that stadium by bringing hometown boy Alex Rodriguez back to Miami.

Keep in mind the New York Yankees never drew four million fans until Rodriguez arrived. And if you don't think, he'd have a similar effect in Miami, even as a shell of the player he once was at the age of 37, you are kidding yourselves.

But, Loria is not going to do that. He's a shyster. He pulled one over on Miami and MLB once again.

Selig stepped in with the Los Angeles Dodgers when Frank McCourt made a mockery of that franchise. Now it's time he takes Loria to task.

It's long overdue.