Blue Jays' 12-player deal with Marlins official
By Gregor Chisholm / 11/19/12 3:07 PM ET
TORONTO -- After sitting in limbo for almost a week, the Blue Jays' blockbuster 12-player trade with the Marlins became official on Monday afternoon.
As expected, Toronto acquired All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck and infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
Going to the Marlins are shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, veteran backup catcher Jeff Mathis, outfielder Jake Marisnick, left-hander Justin Nicolino and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.
Toronto also reportedly will receive $4 million as part of the deal to help compensate for the almost $165 million in salary headed to the Blue Jays. It's the largest deal in franchise history both in terms of the numbers of players and money involved.
The Blue Jays and Marlins agreed to the deal on Nov. 13, but there was a delay before the trade could become official. The main holdup was organizing physicals for each of the 12 players involved in the deal.
That process becomes a lot more complicated during the offseason. Bonifacio was back home in the Dominican Republic, while Reyes had been vacationing in Dubai at the time of the deal. Reyes wasn't able to return to North America until Thursday night and then went for a physical at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex the following day.
While the two sides were waiting for everything to check out with the players, Commissioner Bud Selig also took a look at the deal. Selig is required to approve any deal that involves more than $1 million in cash exchanging hands.
"After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion," Selig said in a statement.
Selig announced during last week's Owners Meetings that he would examine the final transaction to make sure it didn't impact the integrity of the game. Miami has come under intense criticism for dumping so much salary just one year after opening a brand new stadium that was mostly built by taxpayers' money.
Despite the criticism, the deal was always expected to go through, because while the main goal from Miami's perspective was to cut salary, the club also managed to secure some quality players in the deal. Hechavarria, Marisnick and Nicolino all ranked among Toronto's Top 10 prospects according to MLB.com, while Escobar has an extremely team-friendly contract.
"I've talked to two baseball people -- I have a lot of people that I check with and talk to -- who have, actually, an interesting view on the trade," Selig told reporters last week. "They think that [Miami], in terms of young players, did very well. These are two independent baseball people. These are not chefs in these kitchens here.
"So I want to think about all of it and I want to review everything. I want to be my usual painstaking, cautious, slow, conservative self in analyzing it. ... There's a lot of variables here."
The Blue Jays were willing to pay the high cost in an effort to bolster a team that now has hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time since 1993. Johnson and Buehrle give general manager Alex Anthopoulos the two starting pitchers he was looking for this offseason, while Reyes gives the Blue Jays their first prototypical leadoff hitter since Shannon Stewart.
Bonifacio also represents an interesting fit. He spent most of the past two seasons in the outfield, but he has the ability to play second base and is expected to compete with recently signed Maicer Izturis for the starting job. Bonifacio appeared in just 64 games last season because of injury, but he managed to steal 30 bases and will team up with Reyes, Rajai Davis to Brett Lawrie to wreak havoc on the bases.
Buck appears to be a relatively minor inclusion in the deal, but he provides Toronto with even more depth behind the plate. The Blue Jays also have J.P. Arencibia and Bobby Wilson on the 40-man roster, with top prospect Travis d'Arnaud waiting in the wings. It's a strong possibility Toronto will now look to deal from a position of strength to acquire another pitcher or to restock the Minor Leagues with upper-level prospects.
The moves represent a massive financial commitment on the part of ownership group Rogers Communications. Toronto ranked 23rd in baseball with a $75 million salary in 2012, but will now see that number soar just above the $120 million mark. It's the first time in franchise history that the club has assumed more than $100 million in payroll during the course of one season.