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Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria says he never told Jose Reyes to buy a house in South Florida, but Reyes struck back on Thursday, doubling down on his claim that Loria gave that very advice two days before trading Reyes and four other Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Reyes told the New York Post Thursday that contrary to Loria's claims, not only he did tell Reyes to buy a house mere days before the Toronto trade, he had also given the same advice throughout the 2012 season.
"He did it during the season, too," Reyes explained. "'Tell Jose to get a nice place in Miami, a good house,' He always told me that, me and Peter [Greenberg, Reyes' agent]."
On Monday, Loria told local reporters, "What you were told is inaccurate," adding, "I haven't told him to buy a house." He was responding to a report from earlier last month, when Reyes said Loria had taken him out to dinner in New York two days before the Marlins traded him and four other players to Toronto for a package of prospects.
"You can ask Peter if I'm a liar," Reyes said Thursday. "Two people are better than one. I don't have to lie about that. He traded me, that's fine with me. Just be real with me. Be honest."
Greenberg corroborated most of Reyes' story to the Post, adding that Loria had called Reyes his favorite player in private conversations and said he would never trade him.
Reyes said neither he nor Greenberg received any advance warning about the trade, saying, "Peter didn't know that [Loria] was going to trade me. That's a lie." Reyes said he was on vacation in Dubai when the trade was made.
However, Greenberg said Loria did reach out to him less than 24 hours before the trade was reported, but because Reyes was visiting Dubai, Greenberg was unable to relay the news to him before it was reported in the media.
This story may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it is not good for Loria. Facing intense scrutiny from Marlins fans and the media for fielding what could be a very bad team in 2013, the last thing Loria needs is another reason for anyone to distrust him.
For all the effort Loria and the Marlins have taken recently to repair his image in South Florida, this incident suggests it is beyond repair. If Loria cannot come clean about an innocuous conversation over buying a house, how can anyone expect him to be 100% truthful in the future?