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.