Miami The Florida Marlins will look into relocation as early as the 2008 season, after years of unsuccessful attempts to secure a baseball-only stadium in downtown Miami.
Marlins president David Samson said Tuesday the team had received permission from the commissioner's office to investigate its options in other cities. Samson added owner Jeffrey Loria's primary intention was to keep the team in South Florida, but said no deal would be struck for a ballpark in Miami.
Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., which both failed to land the Montreal Expos a year ago before that franchise moved to Washington, are likely to try to lure the Marlins. Samson said another possibility was building on land near Dolphins Stadium and owned by the franchise's original owner, H. Wayne Huizenga.
"No longer can baseball in South Florida be assured," Loria said in a statement read by Samson. "It is now clear to us that there will be no baseball stadium in the city of Miami. So we must begin to explore other options. Therefore, we will expand our search beyond the city of Miami."
Samson wouldn't get into specifics of any trades, but said there would be an immediate "significant market correction" to the team's payroll, which was $60 million at the start of last season.
He said several trades were being considered, but cautioned against calling the moves a "fire sale" like the one that occurred following Florida's 1997 World Series championship. The Marlins won only 54 games the next season.