Enduring. Unremitting. Indelible. All are apt choices to express the impact the Marlins’ mega-deal will have on the franchise’s relationship with the city – and accurately describe the workout I gave my thesaurus – but none completely hit the mark. That would be terminal. Baseball is finished in Miami. Period. There’s no coming back from this. It doesn’t matter that the city owes approximately $786 billion for that goofy stadium or that the team, with its bargain basement $16 million payroll, will surely turn a hefty profit through revenue sharing. Not to mention the $876 they’ll earn in gate revenue for 81 games. If a third of those 60 people purchase a hot dog Jeffery Loria will be a billionaire, again. Loria has already plotted his next move. In his continuous effort to pander to the Cuban community, Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria were the two primaries for the Marlins. It’s truly shocking that J.P. Arencibia wasn’t in the deal. Loria knows focusing on a particular demographic may be all he has left.
Who in Miami cares anymore? How can they care? At least the two previous fire sales came on the heels of a World Series victory, not a horrific 69-93 season. Lighting your money on fire would be a better use of the currency than donating a single penny to the Marlins. Just think of the poor souls that splurged on Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Anibal Sanchez or Jose Reyes jerseys the last few years. Those shirts have gone from expressing team pride to selling for $3.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. They too would be better served doused in lighter fluid and ignited into a plume of sizzling rage.
All is not lost though. In exchange for their dignity, Miami received an awful lot of potential in Hechavarria, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Anthony DeSclafani. It’s sad that by the time these guys develop into credible major leaguers, the Marlins will be playing in Portland.
Now, if you’re a Blue Jays fan, starting acting like Al Gore after a book sale. This trade couldn’t be a bigger win.
Overlooking the obvious upgrades to the starting lineup, for the moment, Jays supporters are relieved that Alex Anthopoulous finally completed a Hail Mary. For the past two years, Toronto’s youthful GM treated his roster like most NL-Only Fantasy players. He made cute, under the radar deals that shored up the back end – shout out Steve Delabar – but didn’t really improve the team taking the field every day. All the while he preached patience, reminding the masses that super-conglomerate/owner Rogers Co. would endorse the checks when the time came. You’d be hard pressed to find any of the team’s followers that would have believed that. There’s no denying it anymore, though. Bringing Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to the Big Smoke proves that.
As does the willingness to inherit payroll. Buehrle’s remaining $48 million is lost cause. Best-case scenario: the old man fills around 200 mediocre innings the next three years. In total, Toronto is taking on around $167 m in payroll. Which sounds like a lot, but consider the Angels forked over $240m to one player last offseason. Plus, only Reyes’ contract lasts beyond 2015. There are no bad short-term deals in baseball.
How much better does this make the Blue Birds? Well, according to Vegas, exponentially. Within 20 minutes of the trade breaking on Twitter, Toronto’s 2013 World Series future went from 100-1 to a far less enticing 15-1.
Building up the middle is an essential competent to a successful structure, and Reyes instantly fills that need. He also addresses the Jays long standing desire for a leadoff hitter that can actually get on base. His defense isn’t what it once was, but it remains around league average, and the offensive upgrade from that bigot Escobar is probably worth at least ten wins. But Reyes just adds to an already capable offense.
It’s Josh Johnson that can help the team truly contend.
Johnson gives the rotation the real ace it desperately needed. And he’ll fit right in with fellow triage warrior Brandon Morrow. They can trade tips on the proper method of icing their shoulders. If all its projected starters are healthy, and that’s a giant if, you’re looking a fairly formidable staff featuring Johnson, Morrow, Ricky Romero, Buehrle and J.A. Happ/someone better signed off free agency. New York, Boston and Baltimore are certainly envious of that rotation. And with the addition of Bonifacio and Buck, Tampa is drooling with jealously at their depth.
Expectations are hard to temper in the immediate aftermath with a deal of this magnitude, but remember that, at this moment, we’re treating this trade in “best-case scenario” terms. Chances Johnson blows out his arm in spring training? 50/50. But for the remainder of the winter, the Jays are markedly meliorated.
They’ve showcased the proper use of a deep minor league system, reinvigorated a fan base and improved the roster all in one, wildly one-sided trade.
Great day to root for the Blue Jays. Not the case for the Marlins.