Miami Marlins fans are not the only ones feeling betrayed by ownership’s decision to break up the club.
Shortstop Jose Reyes and left-hander Mark Buehrle, two of the five Marlins headed to Toronto in a pending blockbuster, are upset that the team broke verbal promises to them regarding trades, according to major-league sources.
The Marlins do not award no-trade clauses, but club officials, while recruiting Reyes and Buerhle as free agents last offseason, assured both players that they would not be moved, sources said.
Buehrle knew the Marlins’ history of dumping high-priced players, and it concerned him, according to a friend. Team president David Samson, however, told both Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, that the team was committed to a long-term vision, sources said.
The Buehrles have two children — a son, Braden, 5, and a daughter, Brooklyn, 3. They also own a 2-year-old pit bull, Slater. The province of Ontario, where Toronto is located, bans pit bulls.
Jamie, sources said, was emotional in a conversation that she had with Samson after learning of the trade Tuesday. Samson had initiated contact with the Buehrles to inform them that a deal was imminent.
“I spoke to Mark Buerhle. He said he was sorry things didn’t work out,” Samson said in an interview with 790TheTicket, a radio station in Miami. “I said, ‘I’m as sorry as you that things didn’t work out.’”
Samson did not respond to a request to comment on the specifics of this story. Neither did Buerhle’s agent, Jeff Berry.
A source close to Reyes, asked if the shortstop also received verbal assurances from the Marlins that he would not be traded, responded, “The answer is yes. A vehement yes.”
Buerhle, 33, rejected a three-year offer from the Washington Nationals last offseason to sign a four-year, $58 million contract with the Marlins and reunite with his former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Reyes, 29, agreed to a six-year, $106 million deal, also grabbing the best financial package.
On Saturday, both officially could become Blue Jays.
The 12-player trade between the Marlins and Jays is awaiting commissioner Bud Selig’s approval and the completion of physicals. Reyes had been in Dubai, sources said, and did not return to the U.S. until Thursday night.
The Marlins also signed a third free agent last offseason, awarding a three-year, $27 million contract to closer Heath Bell.
It is not known whether the team also told Bell that he would not be traded. But the reliever, after enduring a miserable season in Miami, probably was not disappointed when the Marlins sent him to the Arizona Diamondbacks last month.
Bell declined to speak about his season with the Marlins in an interview with the Arizona media after the trade, saying he wanted to look ahead to his time with the Diamondbacks.