The Blue Jays pulled off a trade last night, which is still not official, that sent Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, and $4 million from the Miami Marlins up to Toronto in exchange for Jeff Mathis, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, and three minor leaguers.
This immediately makes the Blue Jays a contender even in a tough division. The Jays rotation now consists of Johnson, Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero, with J.A. Happ pulling up the rear and Kyle Drabek contributing once he returns from Tommy John Surgery.
This is a rotation that rivals the Yankees and Rays and is certainly better than the Orioles and Red Sox. backing them up is a pretty strong lineup:
The Jays aren’t done either. With Buck in place, they could choose to trade J.P. Arencibia or Adam Lind for another starter or even another offensive upgrade. They also have Maicer Izturis sitting on the bench which means they could get creative with how and where they use Bonifacio.
This was a great trade for the Blue Jays who didn’t give up any talent that they will need to compete with in 2013. Hechavarria is a nice piece, but certainly expendable for an upgrade of this magnitude.
Most importantly, they didn’t have to give up big names like Lawrie, Rasmus, Morrow, or Drabek, who certainly could have been included in a deal of this magnitude if the Marlins cared about winning.
Speaking of the Marlins, there are a lot of people out there that are upset that they’ve had another fire sale. It’s certainly a travesty and their owner Jeffrey Loria is clearly running the team with the bottom line in mind without any regard for winning. As it stands right now, before they re-sign their arbitration eligible players, their payroll is only $20.5 million. That’s less than three different Yankees make alone.
This shouldn’t have come as such a shock as people are treating it though. Looking at the contracts there was a clear indication that they planned on doing this. Reyes signed a six-year, $106 million deal last year that was completely back loaded. They were also aggressive in trying to sign Albert Pujols, but ultimately fell short when they refused to include a no-trade clause. No trade clauses were absent from Buehrle’s and Heath Bell‘s deals. Considering Loria’s past history, this was a giant red flag for me at the time and a deal like this was expected.
This wasn’t a terrible baseball move for the Marlins. Their team was garbage and they weren’t going to compete in 2013 and probably 2014 either once Johnson walked away via free agency. They also got a couple of good prospects from the Blue Jays. Still, I would imagine there are 29 other teams that are not enjoying watching Loria pocked all the revenue sharing without spending a dime of it on the team.
The Marlins barely gave competing a chance. They started with a bad team in 2011, spent a lot of money in one offseason, and when it didn’t immediately work they jumped ship. This fire sale really started in July when they dumped Anibal Sanchez and continued early this offseason when they dumped Bell. They didn’t try to built something and then when it failed, try to rebuild. They gave a halfhearted effort and then cashed in their chips the first chance they got.
But as Yankees fans, we don’t need to spend too much time dwelling on how the Marlins screwed baseball, their fans, and the people of Miami, we need to worry about how the Yankees are going to compete with the suddenly tough Toronto Blue Jays.