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Breaking down the huge Toronto-Miami trade

Nov 13, 2012, 8:16 PM EDT

Jose Reyes Getty Images

It’s not official yet, but here are some early thoughts on the trade as it’s currently being presented:

Blue Jays acquire SS Jose Reyes, RHP Josh Johnson, LHP Mark Buehrle, INF-OF Emilio Bonifacio, C John Buck and $4 million from the Marlins for SS Yunel Escobar, RHP Henderson Alvarez, SS Adeiny Hechvarria, LHP Justin Nicolino, OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C Jeff Mathis.

– Of course, there’s the obvious thought: the Marlins are a joke and owner Jeffrey Loria needs to be forced out of baseball. That still applies.

That said, strictly as a baseball trade, this seems like a pretty good value for them. Reyes and Buehrle really shouldn’t have any trade value at all; the Marlins were the high bidders for both last year and signed them to backloaded contracts. Any time you can sign a free agent to a long-term deal and then trade him a year later, without eating any salary (though the Marlins did eat $4 million here), you’re coming out ahead. The back half of free agent deals are almost always worse than the front half.

Working under that theory, the only two guys in the deal for the Marlins with significant trade value were Johnson, who is one year away from free agency, and Bonifacio, an arbitration-eligible speedster who is an adequate regular at a few positions but not really exceptional anywhere.

In return, the Marlins are getting a cheap No. 3 or 4 starter in Alvarez, a possible long-term shortstop in Hechevarria, two very good prospects who will both probably crack the bottom half of top 100 lists next spring in Nicolino and Marisnick, a possible bullpen arm in DeSclafani and whatever Escobar brings back in trade. That’s pretty good. Better still if catcher Travis d’Arnaud was in there, but that probably would have required eating more salary than the Marlins were willing to do.

If this were a computer simulation, one could make a great argument that the Marlins came out ahead here. Figuring that they weren’t going to contend in 2013 anyway, they might as well start over, tank next year and then try to load up again come 2014 or ’15.

However, this is no computer simulation. The Marlins just took a big ol’ crap on everyone who has supported them in recent years and ticked off their lone remaining star in Giancarlo Stanton. Also, it’s hard to imagine free agents will line up to sign with them, even if they do offer to overpay, after what happened to Reyes, Buehrle and Heath Bell. It’s going to take more than a year or two to recover from this.

– As for the Blue Jays, well, they obviously got a whole lot better. The rotation now lines up as Johnson, Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and probably J.A. Happ. Kyle Drabek will return from Tommy John sometime next year, and the team still has some quality pitching prospects behind them.

The lineup could look like:

SS Reyes
2B Bonifacio
RF Jose Bautista
DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion
1B/DH Adam Lind/free agent
3B Brett Lawrie
CF Colby Rasmus
C J.P. Arencibia
LF Free agent/Rajai Davis

With the newly signed Maicer Izturis leading the bench. The Jays could also trade Arencibia for a Lind replacement or a left fielder and then let top prospect Travis d’Arnaud compete with Buck and Bobby Wilson for catching chores in spring training.

The Jays also have plenty of live arms in relief and Sergio Santos making his way back. There’s no doubt that this team should be a contender. Whether it will be will hinge on keeping the arms healthy, especially Johnson’s. That’s an area in which the Blue Jays have had a lot of difficulties.

As is, the Blue Jays look like pretty good bets to claim one of the AL’s five playoff berths next year and those improved odds come at the expense of the Orioles, Rays and Red Sox.

  1. djpostl - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    We keep hearing about how the Jays are contenders every year. Then they do nothing.

    Not gonna believe it until I see it to be honest.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      The Jays certainly seem to have solved their injury woes by picking up Reyes, Johnson and Bonifacio.

      • Old Gator - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:35 AM

        I don’t know how the Feesh got themselves a “cheap number 3 or 4 starter” when they no longer even have a number 1 or 2 starter.

  2. mydadyourmom - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:23 PM


    • proudlycanadian - Nov 14, 2012 at 6:23 AM

      AA pulled off another trade in complete secrecy. As Matthew pointed out, the 5 (Escobar and Mathis are not young, but the others are) young players going to Miami are not chopped liver. They all could have decent ML careers. The Jays can afford to trade prospects because their farm system is well stocked. They still have a lot of high end prospects. They still have 5 pitching prospects who project as top of the rotation types.

      • mydadyourmom - Nov 14, 2012 at 10:09 AM


  3. canadabaseball - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Love the trade but giving up on a 17 year old who already has 3 shutouts to early and wish they traded rasmus because I think acouple of those prospects will really become stars in the future

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      What 17 year old?

    • brewcrewfan54 - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      To trade Rasmus you have to find someone who actually wants him.

  4. elemeno89 - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Suck it Yankees. Look like there’s a new team on the block.

  5. contraryguy - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Incredible how much payroll the Fish are dumping with this move, trading Anibal mid-season and probably not picking up Zambrano’s huge option year. Stanton is still cheap for several years, no point in trading him. A serious case of Moneyball if they make a team out of this down the road, but they’ll be some fugly Fish next year.

    • Old Gator - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      On the other hand, you could say that the Feesh did what they had to do to get rid of Black Hole Buck.

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:18 PM

        Buck hit well when he was a Blue Jay, but somehow, I suspect that this time the Jays will pay someone to take him.

  6. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Get Lind out of that lineup and I like it a lot.

  7. jimw81 - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    What is there to breakdown? Blue Jays just pulled a HEIST

    • paperlions - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      No, the didn’t. They easily paid full price in terms of both dollars and prospects. Even Buck is overpaid for what he is.

      • Reflex - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        Exactly, they could have had most of those guys last offseason without giving up the prospects. I do think it improves the Jays, but its an indictment of thier philosophy until now, and a very costly way for them to improve.

  8. husky2score - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Here is a good question. Which trade was bigger? The Jays and Marlins, or the Red Sox and Dodgers?

    • paperlions - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      RS/Dodgers. More money. Probably better prospects.

    • mazblast - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      RS/Dodgers. Bigger media markets, more sizzle, includes two of the few cities that ESPN can locate on a map.

  9. packerpride03 - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Oh and Jeff Mathis poor guy

  10. frug - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    I guess this just means we can start counting on a Marlins fire sale once every half decade.

    What makes this one so bad is unlike the first two the Fish didn’t wait until they won a WS to trade away the core of the team.

  11. canadabaseball - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Nuniz the guy from the Vancouver canadians

  12. illadelphiasphinest - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    The worst trade I’ve ever seen!!!

  13. proudlycanadian - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Dirk Hayhurst tweeted “Alex Anthopulos acquires players like most folks buy toilet paper: in bulk. Marlins are frontrunners for this season’s Costco award.”

  14. phalatek6 - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    I’m not buying the “Jays are contenders” bit just yet. On paper, the lineup and rotation for Toronto is every bit as comparable to Miami’s 2012 squad, and we know how that turned out. Show me a manager and tell me how you’re going to make Rasmus and Davis produce more effectively and maybe I’d be able to be swayed.

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:22 AM

      Davis hasn’t improved since becoming a Beav?

      2011: 34 SB, .238BA, .273 OBP, .350 SLG, .623 OPS

      2012: 46 SB, .257BA, .309 OBP, .378 SLG, .687 OPS

      Looks improved to me. Rasmus…you got a point there. He needs to show me something.

      But meanwhile there’s a way better bat/OBP guy;
      Reyes: 40, 287, .347, .433, .780 AND he walks more than he strikes out. Either Reyes or Davis leads off the other bats 2nd & all this ahead of a lineup that features two of baseballs best mashers: Joey Bats & E5.

      Meanwhile, some starting pitching has been added. Liking these guys for contenders in a division that features the non hitting Rays, Rebuilding BoSox and Aged Yankees? At the moment, I like The Beav’s chances.

  15. Gardenhire's Cat - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Matt, Mathis won’t be competing with Travis for a catching job.. He was included in the trade as you noted.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      He finally changed it.

      • Gardenhire's Cat - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:26 AM

        Yeah, I wish he would have deleted my comment too lol

    • Matthew Pouliot - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      Whoops, thanks. I’m guessing Drew deleted it for me. Wrote that part before the word that Mathis was in the deal (even better for Toronto!).

  16. gotampabay52 - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Well, well, well Rays, Blue Jays & NY suck it Red Sox. This AL East makes MLB lopsided this is on crazy mode these three teams should be in first or second in any division as Red Sox should be in last in any division. Now if the Sox get better MLB is the AL East

    • husky2score - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      Buddy, how in the broad day did you say the Rays, who didn’t even make the playoffs last year, and not the O’s. Also, there have been plenty of teams who got big name players and ended up stinking. Too name a few, Lakers, Eagles (sorta), last year Marlins, you get the point. On the other hand, it is just shocking how you looked past the O’s.

  17. mkd - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    I’m not sure why free agents wouldn’t be lining up to sign with the Marlins.

    Step 1: Accept ridiculous offer for too much money and too many years.
    Step 2: Hang out in Miami for 12-18 months.
    Step 3: Get traded to a better team.

    Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

  18. Mark - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    It doesn’t make sense to start Bonafacio over Izturis at 2B.

    And it’s not like the Marlins got good prospects here. Alvarez couldn’t strike out half the posters on HBT, let alone a major league lineup. Nicolino is a command lefty without plus stuff. Hech is a defensive replacement.

    The Jays flipped a lot of overrated parts and got some quality pieces back.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:54 AM

      I think it makes plenty of sense to start Bonifacio over Izturis. Izturis might be the slightly better player, but he has a lengthy injury history and I doubt he’s cut out to start 120-130 games, especially not on turf. Leaving him in a utility role is the best way to keep him healthy.

      • Mark - Nov 14, 2012 at 7:38 AM

        Izturis isn’t just a slightly better player – in his down year, which is significantly worse than his career average, he’s still better than every season Bonifacio has had but one. Let’s put it in perspective here:

        Izturis (2012) – 256-320-315 (82 OPS+, 82 wRC+)
        Bonifacio (2012) – 258/330/316 (77 OPS+, 79 wRC+)


        Izturis: 273/337/381 (92 OPS+, 94 wRC+)
        Bonifacio – 267-329-343 (81 OPS+,82 wRC+)

        Outside of 2011 Bonifacio has been a terrible player. I’d rather go with Izturis and take the risk the turf isn’t great for him than play the vastly inferior Bonifacio.

  19. vallewho - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    A.L. East just got tougher

  20. gah05 - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Let’s not get too far ahead here, now who is going to manage the Jays? It will make or break team chemistry which will ultimately equate to winning & losing. They need an experienced manager to instill winning and some swagger. Cito Gaston one more time?

    • superpriebe - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      If we follow the pattern this trade establishes…..Ozzie Guillen!

      • vallewho - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM

        Is Canada a Castro loving country? I don’t think so, but just asking…

  21. vanmorrissey - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Only way this makes any sense is if Loria goes after Hamilton, Greinke, and whoever else he’d have to overpay which believe me, an agent says show me the money and they’ll line up to go, nutty owner or not, his green is as green as anyone else’s. We’ll see.

    • Old Gator - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      No sense is going to be made, except by Scrooge McLoria’s accountant. Stop dreaming.

      • mazblast - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM

        I’m an accountant, and I wouldn’t work for Loria–unless I got a massively front-loaded contract. Then I’d work for a year and retire.

    • vallewho - Nov 14, 2012 at 12:19 AM

      I’m sure lots of free agents are going to use one of the few times in their baseball-lives that they get to choose where/who they work for and choose Miami….I think not.

  22. jason9696 - Nov 13, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    The Marlins just got seriously robbed. I feel sorry for their fans.

  23. rodge1 - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Johnson hasn’t been the same since injuries a few years back. Reyes is due for an injury. Buck’s contract too expensive. Buehrle had great year but getting up there in age. Not the end of the world. Marlins started rebuilding when they traded Hanley last year so this trade is no surprise either.

  24. mazblast - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    As is, the Blue Jays look like pretty good bets to claim one of the AL’s five playoff berths next year and those improved odds come at the expense of the Orioles, Rays and Red Sox.
    Yes, let’s not mention the other team in the AL East. After all, they so dominated the division last year that they beat the O’s by one whole game IIRC. Of course they’re an automatic qualifier for the post-season and would have nothing to fear from an improved Jays team.

  25. thesmedman - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Odd to do this without a mgr in place, is it not?

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Not really. Makes it easier to hire someone. The former manager is probably shitting his pants right now.

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