Shortstop Jose Reyes is the biggest piece of the reported 12-player deal. (Getty Images)In one fell swoop, the Toronto Blue Jays have filled glaring holes on the mound and at shortstop with all-star level talent.
According to reports from several sources including Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal the Jays have completed a 12-player deal with the Miami Marlins that will send Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez and a handful of minor-league prospects to the sunshine state in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes, starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and utility man Emilio Bonifacio.
Jays fans have been waiting for the organization to quit acting like a small market franchise for years and it became most noticeable about a year ago when Alex Anthopoulos, Paul Beeston and the Toronto baseball brass bowed out of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes. Darvish of course was eventually signed by the Texas Rangers in mid-January for $60-million over six years.
After a disastrous season plagued by injuries, Toronto baseball fans appear to have fished their wish with this trade. The Jays have not only shown they're willing to put money on the table for players that they feel can help them succeed, but they've also turned themselves into a formidable playoff contender and changed the landscape of the franchise in the process.
The Marlins on the other hand were always considered to be a small market franchise — even with two World Series titles — until owner Jeffrey Loria decided to try and change that with the unveiling of a swanky new stadium, a new name and a trio of fresh faces in Reyes, Buehrle and reliever Heath Bell that lifted the Marlins payroll to historic heights. But a new look roster, in-stadium aquarium and nightclub didn't attract fans and according to Forbes, by July the Marlins were already drawing the fewest fans at a first-year ballpark in three decades. And their lack of success in the stands matched their inability to manufacture wins on the field. They finished the season as the last place team in the National League East at 69-93.
Cue the fire sale.
There's no denying the positive potential bringing in a SS like Reyes and arms in Buehrle and Johnson can have on the Jays organization should all the players acquired stay healthy and live up to expectations.
Reyes for one is a four-time all-star, three-time NL stolen bases champion and the 2011 MLB batting champion. The 29-year-old has a career .291 batting average, with 92 home runs, 480 RBI's and 410 stolen bases. His bat will join an already powerful front-end to the Jays batting order that includes two-time MLB home run champion Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, who hit 41 homers this past season..
In Buehrle and Johnson the Jays acquire two legitimate starting pitchers both of whom have proven to be capable of winning upwards of 12 or 13 games in a given season. And more importantly both have shown a capability of eating up innings which the Jays struggled to do on the mound last season.
So Anthopoulos finally made his big move, the Jays are now a contender and fans of the franchise everywhere can pump there fists and scream 'take that John Farrell.'