Mark Buehrle: Strong Lefty Will Provide Boost to Blue Jays' Rotation

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Mark Buehrle: Strong Lefty Will Provide Boost to Blue Jays' Rotation
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The Toronto Blue Jays orchestrated one of the biggest trades in baseball history on Tuesday. They acquired the two best starting pitchers the Miami Marlins had to offer in Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson.

Also included were Infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, shortstop Jose Reyes and catcher John Buck.

In return, Toronto surrendered a fading shortstop in Yunel Escobar, a young prospect at the position in Adeiny Hechavarria and a pair of minor-league prospects that have had moderate success in "A" ball, Justin Nicolino and Jake Marisnick.

Also included was right-handed pitching prospect in Anthony DeScalfani and catcher Jeff Mathis (.218 average in 71 games last season).

The Blue Jays also shipped off Henderson Alvarez, but that move is addition by subtraction. He was 9-14 with a 4.85 ERA last season, and his 3.80 K/9 ratio won't be missed.

Sorry, Jay Buhner, but your trade for Ken Phelps looks palatable by comparison.

Buehrle alone is worth what the Blue Jays surrendered.

The lefty is the epitome of consistency, having won 13 games in four consecutive seasons. He's pitched between 201.0 and 219.0 innings in each of the prior seven campaigns and has had more losses than wins just once in his career.

The 2012 season was a great showing for Buehrle. After his ERA had spiked to 4.28 in 2010, it dropped back to 3.59 and 3.74 the last two season. He was 13-13 last season, accounting for 19 percent of Miami's wins.

Buehrle led the Marlins in wins and ERA in 2012 but was scheduled to make $11.0 million in base salary in the upcoming season. He'll collect an additional $37 million over the coming two seasons.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Brandon Morrow was a promising young pitcher in Seattle so he needed to be traded.

Toronto's pitching rotation improves immensely with the trade. Buehrle will step in as potentially the No. 2 starter behind Brandon Morrow (10-7, 2.96 ERA). He'll be followed by Johnson, who was just 8-14 last season despite a 3.81 ERA.

Carlos Villanueva went 7-7 last season, but his 4.16 ERA is better suited for a No. 4 pitcher or a setup man. There are a host of pitchers that will compete for the final slots in the rotation, including 24-year-old Kyle Drabek.

The starting rotation was a concern for the Blue Jays last season. They only had two pitchers with 126 innings of work last season.

Buehrle will give them a workhorse that will win games so long as he has decent run support. As long as Morrow can develop into their ace, the rotation shouldn't be a concern for Toronto during the regular season. 

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.

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