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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. psunick - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Were Oakland to pull off this deal with Toronto, Billy Beane would be praised as a genius.

    But since Florida…oops, Miami…is doing it, it’s a “fire sale” …a “travesty”…”not good for the game.”. Etc.

    A little media bias at work, maybe?

    • raysfan1 - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM

      Setting aside the point that Beane would never have signed those guys that Miami traded away to begin with…

      Luria made promises to make the Marlins credible to help gain public funding for the stadium. He then over-payed for a bunch of free agents, including their erstwhile manager, to appear serious about competing this year when they moved into that park. They failed,and Luria is now trying to dump salaries. He will not be using the money saved to try to do better in 2013; the free agent pool is not deep enough, so he will use that as an excuse to field a doormat team for next year and pocket the money.

      In the long run, this trade may benefit the Marlins, but in the interim no top line free agent will go there and they will likely challenge for worst team in baseball.

      Luria’s motive, as always, is $$$ and not winning. Beane wants to win, and has managed to do so despite fiscal constraints. There’s a big difference.

  2. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Can’t wait to see all those guys jerseys on some Haitians

  3. vipod4ever - Nov 13, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Once a carpetbagger, always a carpetbagger. Loria & his hobbit continue the tradition started in Montreal. Why would anyone trust an art dealer? Maybe Bud?

    • Gamera the Brave - Nov 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      What’s your issue with Hobbits?

  4. mashoaf - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    I vote to petition to congress that Loria is forced to sell the Marlins and give all the money received from the Blue Jays towards the new Stadium.

    • paperlions - Nov 14, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      That money should be given back to the Florida tax payers, not some other rich guy that won’t build his own stadium.

  5. hushbrother - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    This trade doesn’t make them a playoff lock at all. That lineup still isn’t that impressive, and you have to seriously wonder if the pitching staff can stay healthy.

    • paperlions - Nov 14, 2012 at 7:55 AM

      No no no. That’s not the narrative. Toronto got some good players, this immediately makes them the best team in the AL….like last year, when signing Pujols and Wilson meant the Angels were the best team in the AL and when the Marlins signing Reyes, Buerhle, and Bell meant they were the best team in the NL.

      Hyperbolic knee jerk reactions….it’s whats for dinner.

  6. henryd3rd - Nov 14, 2012 at 5:33 AM

    Dismantling the team doesn’t bode well for Miami fans. Seems like we’ve seen this act before. Adding insult to injury that stadium deal that was built on lies and deception. Thank God for http://www.mlb.com. I can watch any baseball game I want without ever stepping outside of my home or into Marlin’s Stadium.

  7. bbk1000 - Nov 14, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    HAHA…Jose Reyes did a money grab and left the Mets to go to the warmth of Miami and then gets sentenced to the Siberia of baseball….enjoy Jose….

    • paperlions - Nov 14, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      You realize that baseball is played in the summer and that Toronto is a fantastic city, right? Having fun playing baseball for an owner that wants to win and invest in his product is probably worth whatever tiny value living in Miami had for him.

      • bbk1000 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        I have been to Toronto, nice city as you mention.

        They are not a baseball town. Year after year they are under the A.L. average. Lucky for Reyes the Marlins are worse.

        Let’s think about this, which would you prefer?

        1. Playing in a bad baseball town, missing the playoffs. On your days off you have beautiful views of the ocean. .

        Or

        2. Playing in a bad baseball town, missing the playoffs. On your off days you get to watch of couple of moose mate.

      • bbk1000 - Nov 14, 2012 at 5:50 PM

        You have to chill…Seriously, the US produces the best hockey players in the NHL and the Canucks give little to baseball, very little….oh,I forgot Jason Bay….haha

  8. cshearing - Nov 14, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    Yes, Toronto is Siberia compared to NY. Makes perfect sense, seeing as how TO is thousands of miles further North. Reminds me of the American cashier that wished me a safe trip back across the ocean when I said I was moving back to Canada.

  9. junebug42 - Nov 14, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    Just making room for A- Frauds contract!!!!

  10. cmbrown15 - Nov 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Ryan Ludwick could be a good (relatively) cheap short-term fit in that lineup.

  11. huffdaddyco - Nov 14, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Wow, Jeff Loria has done what I thought was impossible…he has made me glad the Monforts own the Rockies.

    • dowhatifeellike - Nov 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Agreed, I’ll take an owner who tries and fails over a malevolent guy like Luria any day.

  12. lrgemike66 - Nov 14, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I don’t like the way it was done either,but I’m a cubs fan for 45yrs and the Marlins have two worldseries trophies they can show off. So alot of good things have been done there also.

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