The Toronto Blue Jays have finally completed the trade that we all knew was coming. The Blue Jays acquired ace Josh Johnson, top-notch shortstop Jose Reyes, excellent pitcher Mark Buehrle, utility man Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck, according to multiple sources.
What is going the other way is still to be determined, but it looks like Adieny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino and another minor leaguer, according to the Toronto Sun.
I made it very clear in my earlier piece about the need to trade for an ace, and GM Alex Anthopoulos has done just that. Moreover, a heated discussion erupted in the comments section discussing how great it would be if Josh Johnson got traded to the Blue Jays.
So how good are the Blue Jays? Scary good.
The major weaknesses on this roster were completely overhauled and turned into strengths. We have an excellent rotation, got rid of some problem pieces (and others that I did not value as highly as others) and will have one of the best offenses in the league, hands down.
Let us discuss what we got back in this deal with the Marlins.
2012 stats: .287, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 86 runs, 40 stolen bases and 56/63 K/BB ratio.
Reyes is your prototypical leadoff guy that will easily score 100 runs for the Blue Jays. Reyes batted a paltry .287 (for his standards, as he won the batting crown at .337 in 2011). He is the top-of-the-order speedster that the Blue Jays haven't had since, well, ever (sorry, Devon White).
He is just what the doctor ordered, as he will charge the Blue Jays lineup and give Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista a million RBI opportunities.
He is also a skilled defender at shortstop and is under contract for many years to come. Blue Jays fans (as long as he stays healthy, which has been an issue for Reyes in his career) will love to see a batting lineup of Reyes, Lawrie, Bautista and Encarnacion for years to come.
Jose! Jose! Jose! Joseeee! will double up now. Get ready, Toronto fans!
Johnson is an absolute tower of a man (6'7") who is the prototypical ace the Blue Jays need.
After a rocky start last season, Johnson came back to finish strong with a 3.81 ERA. Just as an example of his abilities, he only gave up seven earned runs in June.
I have always been a big Josh Johnson fan, and I believe he is one of the premier pitchers in this league. If you don't believe me, maybe his career 3.15 ERA will sweeten your tongue.
I believe he should have won the Cy Young in 2010 after posting such ridiculous numbers (2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 186 strikeouts in 183 innings).
And in case you don't remember, before he got injured in 2011 (after only nine starts), he had a 1.64 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. But best of all, he had a no-hitter deep into so many of those games.
Out of the first six games of the season, he took a no-hitter into the fourth inning (against the Nats), fifth inning (Pirates), sixth inning (Rockies), seventh inning (Mets) and eighth inning (Braves). Yes, his ERA was 0.88 in April 2011.
Can you imagine what this will do to the Blue Jays with the offense they have?
I am excited. I just really hope that he re-signs (only one year left on his deal), as I think he is more important than Reyes.
Yes, as you might think, I have a Josh Johnson poster above my bed. Wait, maybe I shouldn't have shared that. Moving on!
2012 stats: 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 202.1 IP and only 40 BB.
This is such a great rotation glue-guy to have on your roster. He isn't the most skilled or hardest thrower that someone like Josh Johnson is, but he is a master craftsman who eats up innings and puts your team in a position to win every night.
Buehrle has always been a fantastic clubhouse guy and a pitcher that any GM would love to acquire, and acquire you did, Alex Anthopoulos! He does come with a hefty contract (four years, $58 million), but if he can maintain his below-4.00 ERA and eat up 200 innings, then he will earn that money.
With the absolutely devastating injuries that the Blue Jays pitchers went through last season, a guy like Buehrle, who has pitched 200-plus innings every year since 2001, will be a welcome addition.
As a No. 3 or 4 starter on this team, the Blue Jays can be very dangerous.
2012 stats: 64 games, .258 BA, 30 runs, 30 SB and 63 hits.
Projected over a full season: 76 runs, 76 SB, 160 hits.
Bonifacio is like an excellent Swiss Army knife for the Blue Jays. He split time last season at second base, third base, shortstop and center field. It will be interesting to see if he becomes the everyday second basemen for the Blue Jays.
At this point in time, we will just have to wait and see how the new manager decides to play his amazing hand (take that, Farrell).
If put in the right situation, he can be your leadoff hitter (batted .296 in 2011) and net you 100 runs.
Yes, I'm excited about the fourth best player we got back.
Is this Christmas?
Is this real life?
2012 stats: 106 games, 12 HR, 41 RBI and 49 BB.
Buck was probably added to the deal as a "fine, I agree to this deal, but you have to take John Buck too" throw-in.
That being said, the former Blue Jay did have success in Toronto in 2010, appearing in 118 games and banging 20 HR and 66 RBI with a .281 BA and .489 SLG.
Buck does have only one year left at $6 million. I doubt he will play over Toronto's duo of young catchers (J.P. Arencibia, Travis D'Arnaud), and I personally believe that he could still be dealt to another squad who is seeking a decent catcher. If the Blue Jays agree to eat some of his salary, I am sure there are a few teams that wouldn't mind acquiring Buck's services, even after he hit only .192 last season.
Look at him as a more expensive Jeff Mathis with much more experience as an everyday catcher.
When I first heard about this trade, I could not believe that we received all of this (albeit expensive) compensation and did not have to part with the likes of Travis D'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Deck McGuire, Anthony Gose, Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris. Aside from Deck, all of these prospects are ranked in the top 100, according to MLB.com.
The Marlins acquired Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick (ranked No. 39), Justin Nicolino (ranked No. 94) and another minor leaguer.
Let us quickly go through what the Marlins will get.
I have somewhat of an evil/shady smile on my face as I type this...
2012 stats: 9-14 record, 4.85 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .290 BAA.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan took a step back after an excellent rookie campaign in 2011. Alvarez had a terrible 79/54 K/BB ratio and is not a pitcher that can excel at Rogers Centre.
The Rogers Centre needs a pitcher like Josh Johnson who can strike out the side. In a non-pitcher-friendly offensive dome, pitchers like Henderson, who don't strike many out, find it hard to be successful (he had 3.80 strikeouts per nine innings).
I was never the biggest Alvarez supporter (although he is still only 22), and I love that we cashed in on his value.
2012 stats: .253 BA, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 58 runs.
After the incident with the eye black, most Jays supporters knew he needed to go. After such a down year, and with Hechavarria waiting in the wings, I am surprised that the Marlins took him and the rest of his contract with him.
That being said, he has an excellent arm at shortstop, and Escobar, of Cuban descent, will pair nicely with fellow Cuban Hechavarria in Miami.
2012 stats: 41 games, .254 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 32/4 K/BB.
The young Cuban will enjoy playing for the Marlins, and although it is arguable that he is not MLB-ready (as his 8:1 K:BB ratio indicates), he will have a bright future and will show an excellent glove along the way.
Hechavarria is one of the hardest pieces to see depart, as I have been waiting for his arrival for quite some time, but you need to give up something to get...you know the saying.
These are two of the Jays' top prospects.
Justin Nicolino, the soon-to-be 21-year-old lefty, played in Single-A Lansing last season and compiled a 2.46 ERA with 119 strikeouts in 124 innings. He is 6'3" and was selected in the second round straight out of high school in 2010.
He has a bright future, but his future won't be realized for a while, which could be after the window of opportunity for the Blue Jays.
Jake Marisnick, on the other hand, is a 21-year-old outfielder who played well in single-A Lansing but struggled to the tune of a .233 BA in 55 games at Double-A New Hampshire. The 6'4" Marisnick was (as previously mentioned) ranked No. 39 on MLB.com's top 100 prospects list.
He too has a long way to go in his development and could be ready to contribute after the Jays' window of opportunity has closed.
2012 stats: 70 games, .218 BA, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 25 runs.
Mathis is an excellent backup catcher who is great at helping along his pitchers. He signed an extension for two years with the Blue Jays in August and was somewhat in the way of Travis D'Arnaud making his way up to the bigs.
That being said, you always want a solid and experienced vet to help your young rotation. It seemed like an even swap from Mathis to Buck, with Buck just making more money.
I will miss that sweet-sounding southern voice of his, though. Seems to be a lot of love from me today...
The Blue Jays instantly turn into a top contender in the American League. They have always had a great offense, and it just got better with this deal. Moreover, the starting rotation will be one of the best in baseball following the trade. Let the jersey sales commence!
Expected Starting Rotation
1. Josh Johnson
2. Mark Buehrle
3. Brandon Morrow
4. Ricky Romero
5. Does it really matter at this point? It will be up for debate and competition between J.A. Happ, Dustin McGowan, Deck McGuire, etc.
Expected Starting Lineup
1. Reyes SS
2. Lawrie 3B
3. Bautista RF
4. Encarnacion 1B
5. Rasmus CF
6. Arencibia C*
7. D'Arnaud DH*
8. Davis LF*
9. Bonifacio 2B*
The bottom half of this order could definitely change (i.e.: Arencibia could split time with D'Arnaud at C), and the Blue Jays could still acquire new players.
That being said, this is a dangerous, dangerous group of guys.
I think that the new manager should have to pay the Blue Jays for the chance to coach such a fantastic squad.
All in all, this is an excellent deal for the Blue Jays; they did not give up too much, and they answered so many positions of need. As they already revamped their bullpen earlier in the year, this team has few holes moving forward.
I think I might book my ticket to Dunedin now.
Get at me on Twitter @the__ste (double underscore) for fantasy advice, fantasy articles, Jays news and discussion, as well as anything else I find awesome.