— Across the state, Jose Reyes said Friday that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told him to buy a house in Miami two days before trading him, said he hasn't talked to Loria since, and then said what everyone does about this season.
"I feel sorry for [Giancarlo] Stanton,'' the former Marlins shortstop said.
Stanton heard this and shrugged slightly. He had just walked through a clubhouse of teammates he didn't know on the first official day of Marlins camp.
Now, as a soft drizzle began to fall on him, he said a lot of people expressed sympathy to him in the manner Reyes did. That's how his last few months have gone as the Marlin Left Behind. He put a brave face on that idea
"I'm not one to [say], 'Hey, everyone, feel sorry for me,'" Stanton said. "What is there to feel sorry for me about? I'm in the big leagues, and I play a game for a living. There's no reason to be made.
"People who know me know not to just assume things. They know how I am. It's not going to be any pouting or none of that stuff. So, we're good."
Stanton is the story here, the only story. In so many ways — none of them good — the lone intrigue of the Marlins' season is how Stanton plays this bad hand he's been dealt. And, when he leaves town. As he will. As his situation demands.
Stanton doesn't want this to be a daily narrative. There's no value for him in that as he still tries to mold a career. So, for 15 minutes Friday, Stanton picked his first public words on this radioactive off-season as carefully as he picked his pitches.
He didn't pick a fight with the Marlins. Nor did he retract his tweet immediately after the Marlins traded any chance to be a decent team this year.
"Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple,'' he tweeted that day.
On Friday he said of that tweet, "You're not going to linger on something and cry about it all day. You let it be known how you feel and [move] forward."
For the next four seasons, the Marlins control Stanton's contract. It's tough to see their relationship lasting that long. The question is whether it comes to an end sooner rather than later, and Stanton wasn't offering any thoughts.
Would he sign a long-term deal with the Marlins?
"Well, I haven't been offered one, so that decision isn't ready yet,'' he said.
How's his relationship with Loria?
"Well, we know what has to go down,'' Stanton said. "We have to win. My competitiveness hasn't changed at all."
Translation: He took a pass on discussing Loria. Stanton said his only contact with Loria this off-season was receiving a text [" 'Merry Christmas,' I think it said."]. He did say there remains a chance for everything to be repaired.
"It can be rebuilt,'' he said. "There's time."
Over in Dunedin, as Toronto opened camp, Reyes told reporters he doesn't want to talk with Loria again. He said they were at dinner in New York when Loria suggested he buy a house in Miami. He thought it was a joke when told he'd been traded two days later.
"I don't need to see [Loria], and he don't want to see me because he traded me,'' Reyes said.
Traded Reyes. Traded Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio. A year ago, the Marlins were talking of a new stadium and a new era. This year, new manager Mike Redmond talked to the team about 1998, his season in the majors after another fire sale.
"I talked to them of the opportunity I got,'' Redmond said. "It's a great opportunity for young guys."
That 1998 team also had star holdovers such as Gary Sheffield and Charles Johnson. They were traded a few months into the season. This franchise wasn't the land of opportunity to them that year.
Nor will it be for Stanton this year. He may not need sympathy. But he doesn't need to be shackled to a bad and rebuilding team for the next few years, either.