Welp. Mere hours after we examined the Marlins potentially making moves with some or all of their establish players, Miami goes ahead and pulls off a MASSIVE deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The deal is not yet confirmed by the league as there is money changing hands but multiple reports claim the rubber stamp process will do as it should, likely by Wednesday afternoon.

The deal as currently reported looks like this:

To Toronto To Miami
  • Jose Reyes
  • Josh Johnson
  • Mark Buehrle
  • John Buck (!)
  • Emilio Bonafacio
  • Yunel Escobar & Adeiny Hechavarria
  • Jeff Mathis
  • Jake Marisnick (!!!)
  • Henderson Alvarez
  • Justin Nicolino & Anthony DeSclafani

That is uh, a lot of players and a lot of money changing hands. Marisnick and Nicolino are just two of the Jays cache of stud prospects, making the deal easier to handle for the large contingent of Blue Jays prospect watchers.

The Marlins…the Marlins are playing a totally different game, as I said three hours ago. The Fish can sign free agents one minute then dump them out of town the next. The Marlins are on the verge of unburdening themselves of $165 million dollars in guaranteed contracts, driving their operating expenses down towards nil.

Stoeten has the Blue Jays side covered at DJF so, aside from all the financial freedom, here is what the Marlins acquire:

Yunel Escobar is a fine shortstop coming off a bad season. His second bad season in the last three. Question abound over Escobar’s focus and dedication to the game, especially after a highly-publicized incident involving a homophobic slur written on his eyeblack in Spanish.

Adeiny Hechavarria is also a Cuban shortstop, an incredibly slick fielder with considerable questions about his ability to hit at the Major League level. Hech showed some improvement during a September call-up with the Blue Jays though Marlins fans are cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions about September action. Actually, lol my bad: there aren’t any Marlins fans any more.

Henderson Alvarez is a hard-throwing ground ball machine who stands to benefit greatly from a move to a more spacious ballpark in the National League. Alvarez jumped straight to the big leagues from Double-A in 2011 and never really developed an out pitch. Missing bats is an issue but he surely provides the threadbare Marlins staff with 30 or so starts

Justin Nicolino has the polish and pitchability scouts love but doesn’t have the eye-popping stuff or radar gun readings to make success at the big leagues a sure thing. Nicolino just completed his first season a low-A Lansing, meaning his big league debut is still a few years away.

Jack Marisnick is a toolsy outfielder known for his outstanding athleticism but iffy bat. The Jays promoted Marisnick to Double-A for a brief stint at the end of the season, to the surprise of anyone with knowledge of his numbers in High-A Dunedin.

Word around the Blue Jays was the promotion was an attempt to help Marisnick integrate some swing changes – changes the level of competition in the Florida State League didn’t quite demand.

Jeff Mathis is a catch-and-throw back up catcher best known for being one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. He can both catch and throw.

The Marlins also kicked in $4 million and receive right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, a first year pro with respectable numbers for Lansing but not one of the Blue Jays top 10 prospects.

Oh wow. This deal leaves the Marlins basically bereft of big league talent and, while they did acquire some very nice young pieces for their future, they just confirmed the worst fears about the Marlins ownership after last season’s spending spree.

There is nothing to say that Marlins, who now have in the neighbourhood of $20 million committed in salary for 2013 after starting 2012 well north of $100 million, will not simply reload and spend again on the free agent market. Nothing except history, that is.

The Blue Jays get the rotation help they wanted and then some. Josh Johnson is a free agent after this season but he is an elite talent for their rotation in 2013. Marrk Buehlre is somehow better and yet worse than you imagine. Jose Reyes is a great, exciting player but one who constantly battles injury – a move to the Rogers Centre turf is not going to help that much. John Buck once hit 20 home runs in a season, it is true.

For all the faults of the Marlins ownership, the Blue Jays ownership just stepped up in a big way. They are splashing the cash long held within their corporate overseers careful purse strings. Attracting free agents is always a challenge in Toronto so the Blue Jays gamed the system to their advantage, in a way: they wait for the players to sign elsewhere then trade for them against the player’s will. Sort of.

The Marlins were always unique. Now they’re a pariah. How many times can you turn your back on your fanbase? How many times can you pull the rug out from beneath their feet? They still have franchise tentpole Giancarlo Stanton but for how long? Is that enough to save the team?

Judging by the way their ownership runs the club, saving the team isn’t really a consideration. The franchise keeps building equity no matter how few fans they draw. This investment, much like the fine art Loria covets so dearly, was a great one from the start. Why pay higher overhead costs when the outcome is the same? Cynical as all hell but the system is what it is. Just don’t expect any sweetly penned odes from Michael Lewis romanticizing this new market inefficiency.

Comments (49)


  2. By listening to Ken Rosenthal on TV:

    TOR acquires: Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio

    MIA acquires: Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, Adeiny Hechavarria and Yunel Escobar SO FAR

    HIRE ME!

  3. Drew…splendid with the exclamation marks. +1 to you.

    Also, +100 on being the editor of GB.

  4. AA Style. (bomp, bomp bomp bomp) AA Style.

  5. also sounds like the Jays are sending one of JPA, Mathis, or Wilson.

  6. fuck yea, i’m going to the skydome this year that’s for sure!

  7. given the reputed cost of Latos/Gio last year in terms of prospects…this is quite the haul provided they can lock up Johnson.

    • that would be some pretty sweet news to get in the coming weeks, but I would be surprised if he didn’t wait until he played some games (or the whole season).

  8. Mathis to Miami as well. Good enough.

  9. I recommend that all further reading on this subject be done to the following sound track.


  10. This is unbelievable!

    I’m having a hard time understanding how this is even possible.

    Nice work AA.

  11. “Actually, lol my bad: there aren’t any Marlins fans any more.”
    That got a good laugh out of me.

  12. “Josh Johnson is a free agent”


  13. I tried to express some concern at DJF but got booted for it, so I’ll try here. Drew, you yourself just wrote this afternoon that Reyes wouldn’t net much value in a trade due to his contract. Ditto for Buehrle. Johnson is obviously a huge asset but we’re only getting one year of him. Bonifacio is a fringe starter or utility guy or platoon guy, and Buck is an okay piece but a bit overpaid at $6M. Obviously this trade makes the Jays immediate contenders for 2013, but are we really getting that much value back here for so many big prospects plus Yunel?

    • You should see Reyes’ numbers improve this year if he stays healthy just from the park factors alone. Johnson should be easier to extend than trying to sign him as a free agent next year. You have to wonder did AA turn this way because none of the bigger names were interested in coming here as a free agent?

      Getting another catcher allows them to make another trade or bring d’Arnaud along at a more leisurely pace.

      Looking forward it might be a problem with the additional $13 million that’s due to Buehrle and Reyes starting in 2014 but most of us Jays fans have claimed they have the money all along maybe now they’re actually showing us they do so it’s possible it’s not going to be an issue.

      One thing this deal hasn’t totally done is address the depth problem but maybe one of the catchers can do that as part of another package.

      • Free agency is a fools errand. Via trades, he knows what he’s getting into it. Known commodities.

        • Well in a deal like this he’s essentially signed free agents less a year’s service in Reyes and Buehrle and paid additionally in prospects. This isn’t a deal for young controllable players like the ones for Latos and Gio last year. I get what you’re saying about free agents in general though don’t get me wrong I’ve read the studies.

          • The bad (?) thing is these deals are incredibly backloaded. Jays paying THROUGH THE NOSE for these guys.

          • Yes the deals are backloaded but with the new TV money these deals won’t look so bad compared to what it would cost to sign similar players via free agency.

          • I totally agree that going forward it’s potentially a problem. Still it’s one that might not be such an issue if Rogers spends like we all thought they were capable of doing. I really will like this deal a lot less if they can’t extend Johnson. The nice thing about the payroll is that there’s not a lot of inflation set to kick in outside of Reyes and Buehrle over the next 2 – 3 years.

          • I’m glad the convo here seems to be more level-headed over here. I agree totally with night_manimal that in Reyes and Buehrle we’re really getting free agent signings. There contracts are not terrible overpays like other FAs, but they’re certainly not better than market value. I just find it hard to believe that for that plus one year of Johnson we had to give up 3 of our top 10 prospects, including 2 in the top 5.

            Plus, we’re still left with holes in LF, 2B and DH

          • One factor to consider though about the backloaded nature of these two deals is the aforementioned increase in television revenue. There is already talk that the $/War ratio may have just inflated by anywhere from 3-5 million per season (and that’s not even taking into account the all the money that the Dodgers will throw at free agents over the next couple seasons). With free agent salaries likely to be inflating at a rapid pace over the next couple seasons, these deals may actually not look so bad over time.

        • Free trade nets you known commodities as well. You just have to pay a premium. Prince Fielder was a free agent you know, he’s pretty good.

  14. http://keitholbermann.mlblogs.com/2012/11/13/the-marlins-a-modest-proposal/

    Interesting piece by Keith Olbermann. Part of me would love to see it happen but a bigger part of me loves the fact that Toronto has all of Canada to itself.

    • I still would love to know how much of the Expos’ million-and-a-half fans in 1997 came out for dollar hot dog nights.

      Then again, that’s far from the worst bit of attendance fraud than what we’ve seen in recent years.

  15. I can’t help but wonder the way Parkes would troll Jays fan after this trade

  16. “Jeff Mathis is a catch-and-throw back up catcher best known for being one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. He can both catch and throw. ”

    Best line.


  17. So then what’s up with Arencibia and D’Arnaund?

  18. Eventually something will click in Miami. As soon as they get the right mix OR new owner when they sell..

  19. HOLY SHIT!!!!….did we just solve all our problems in one shot?

  20. I feel you undervalue Emilio.

    Hes pretty fast… can play 2B… I was pleased with him until he got hurt last year.

    I thought that was a nice addition to the deal from the Jays side.

  21. So, how long until Loria tries to move the Marlins to Montreal?

  22. I was out and I missed all this and I’ve been catching up. I’m swimming in internet euphoria.

  23. Not to rub it in, because it really is ugly for Marlins fans, but here is the top post from a Marlins blog right now:

    Just brutal for them, but hey, I’ll take it.

  24. the headline for this piece should read: “Man steals baseball team from Montreal, waits ten years, and then sends entire team to Toronto for peanuts. Montrealers not amused.”

    • The pan-Canadian relations aspects of this trade are fascinating. I can’t wait for Keri’s reaction tomorrow morning.

  25. Is there any chance of you guys replacing Parkes with someone who can actually competently write in the English language? Tough to keep reading when there are four errors in the first sentence.

  26. I know some people have been shitting on this deal because of the money and Reyes injury history. But I like it. It gives us a proven bat and two proven arms without giving much up. I am not a big believer in giving away prospects but I dont think AA gave up anything to major here. Cant wait until spring!

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