Blue Jays Land Johnson, Reyes, Buehrle in Franchise-Defining Trade with Marlins

Brad LeClairCorrespondent INovember 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Jose Reyes #7 of the Miami Marlins looks on after an out against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 21, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

According to reports, the Toronto Blue Jays have acquired starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, as well as shortstop Jose Reyes, utility player Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck from the Miami Marlins in exchange for pitcher Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis, shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, as well as prospects Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Anthony DeSclafani.

This deal essentially guts most of Toronto's top prospects as Nicolino, Hechavarria, and Marisnick were all in the team's top 10, and DeSclafani was quickly closing in.

However, this was a deal that had to be made if the Blue Jays wanted to be a contender any time soon.

The fact is, Marisnick, who already has Gold Glove outfielders occupying all three outfield spots in front of him, was likely the odd man out, as the Jays still have first round draft pick DJ Davis in the minors, as well as Kevin Pillar raking it down there as well.

Hechavarria, who was poised to become the club's starting second baseman, moves to Miami and closer to his homeland Cuba. With the huge dimensions of the new Marlins Ballpark, Hechavarria should enjoy plenty of gap power but likely won't hit many home runs.

Speaking of home runs, Henderson Alvarez was the Toronto pitcher who gave up the most home runs of any starter on the team. He'll stand to benefit most from this trade, as he moves to a pitcher friendly ballpark in Miami. Look for Alvarez to really have a bounce-back season next year.

Among the players the Jays will likely not miss: Yunel Escobar's fate was written in the sand even before the eye-black incident. When the Jays knew Hechavarria was close, Escobar's days a Jays player were numbered. The countdown was complete as the Jays finished the trade with the Marlins.


Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani are two very good prospects, however, with pitchers like Chad Jenkins and Deck McGuire close to being ready for prime time, as well as Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez in the system, not to mention Dustin McGowan, Drew Hutchison, and Kyle Drabek all on the shelf still, the Jays rotation is well stocked without those guys anyway.

But what the Jays got may just put them in contention for an AL East Crown.

Jose Reyes brings with him a career .291 average as well as a staggering .342 on base percentage. Routinely Reyes gets more than 10 triples a season, and best of all, steals on average over 50 bases a season when healthy. He'll be the Jays table setter.

Moving down the line, utility man Emilio Bonafacio will duke it out with not only Maicer Izturis at second, but possibly Rajai Davis out in left field and Colby Rasmus in center field for playing time. Right now I'd pencil him in at second, but who knows what might happen in the next few months. You never know with Alex Anthopolous.

Bonafacio does not possess any power whatsoever, but his speed is easily his best asset. However, with an injury plagued past, he'll need to remain healthy to be effective for the Jays.

Anthopolous did address one major hole for the Jays and that was the rotation.

Mark Buehrle, who owned a 13-13 record with the Marlins, is an innings eater, but to the Jays delight, he's also a strike thrower, something that couldn't be said for Ricky Romero, the teams' best left-handed pitcher, who led the league in walks allowed last season.

Buehrle's veteran presence is something that was severely lacking in the Jays rotation since Shaun Marcum was dealt to Milwaukee for third baseman Brett Lawrie.


Josh Johnson, a free agent next season, comes in and instantly becomes the Jays ace, unless Brandon Morrow has something to say about that, or Romero recovers enough from his offseason surgery to regain his form from two years ago.

Johnson, a six-foot  seven-inch, 250-pound 28-year-old, is a mammoth of a man, and also an innings eater. With a very sketchy injury past—elbow surgery and shoulder surgery, Johnson does come with some risk, though.

However, if he does pitch well with the Jays and ascends into Type A Free Agency, the Jays, if they cannot resign him, will get compensatory picks to replace him. And also by that time, both Drabek and Hutchison could be back in the rotation as well.

The big wild card here is John Buck. The Jays acquired him essentially for Jeff Mathis in a swap for backup catchers. However, given Buck's high price tag, I hardly believe he'll be a back-up catcher for long.

I am fully expecting him to be the starting catcher for the Jays next season, with Travis D'Arnaud serving as his backup.

Yes Jays Fans, that means I believe JP Arencibia may end up getting dealt, possibly along with either Adam Lind or some other prospects for a position of need, such as left field, second base or first base/designated hitter.

Whatever happens, this deal cements Alex Anthopolous' legacy, and could go down in history like another similar blockbuster trade that Jays made prior to winning the World Series: acquiring Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter from the San Diego Padres on December 5th, 1990.

Thoughts on this deal? How did Anthopolous do?

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