Toronto Blue Jays Shake Up AL East in Risk-Taking Fashion with Miami Marlins

George HalimCorrespondent IINovember 15, 2012

Jose Reyes, who signed with Miami last season, is set to take over at shortstop as well as man the leadoff spot.
Jose Reyes, who signed with Miami last season, is set to take over at shortstop as well as man the leadoff spot.Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays have shaken up the professional sports world (not just baseball) with the mega-deal they pulled off with the Miami Marlins on November 13. 

Although the trade is under review, let me remind you why exactly it's happening.

When more than $1 million in cash is being exchanged between teams, it's automatic the league will review the transaction. After all, beyond the walk-off home runs and perfect games, this is a business. 

So, Blue Jays fans, you can stop holding your breath. 

But through the glass window of star players headed to Toronto, one of the major players in the mix is Rogers Communications Inc. Since Anthopoulos took the reins as Jays general manager, he's had a gun thrust into his palms by the fanbase and has been pressured to pull the trigger. 

But after unloading payroll and having no results to back him up, Anthopoulos waited. 

Last offseason, the Jays GM won the hearts of Toronto fans again after acquiring lefty-specialist Darren Oliver and stealing away bullpen sensation Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox, among other deals. 

The 2012 campaign was projected to be the season the Blue Jays finally made it back to the postseason. But although they donned new jerseys, had a 15 percent increase in attendance and showed off their rookie sensations, the season was a bust. 

Granted, the injury bug plagued Toronto (not just the big club), but the season was a sham and Toronto fans pointed the finger at none other than Alex Anthopoulos—again.

Still, he waited. 

That brings us to today, in the hangover period of the Major League Baseball season. Alex Anthopoulos finally pulled the trigger in what seemed like a video-game-type trade with the Miami Marlins

Anthopoulos, Jays president Paul Beeston and Rogers Communications strategized their game plan. According to the Globe and Mail, Rogers gave Anthopoulos the go-ahead a few weeks ago to push payroll limits to $120 million.

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have never been so vulnerable until now, and with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria open to a fire sale, the time for Anthopoulos to act was now. 

Not to capitalize on the opportunity would've been beyond outrageous, so Toronto stole away Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio and their approximate $165 million in contracts over the next five years in the biggest trade in Blue Jays history. 

In one country, Alex Anthopoulos had reached legendary status in a matter of two hours, welcoming the fans (who claim they knew he could do it from the start) back to an era of hope in Toronto that hasn't been felt since 1993. 

Down in South Beach, fans are left asking questions about the ifs and maybes they acquired for established players.

Let me make something clear: This is not a bad deal for the Marlins, as they acquired two everyday shortstops in Escobar and Hechavarria, a tremendously gifted defensive catcher (and leader) in Mathis, a major league ready pitcher in Alvarez, two stud minor league pitchers in Nicolino and DeSclafani and a soon-to-be starting outfielder in Marisnick. 

Although there are evident issues with the Miami front office, in Toronto fans want to see Blue Jays on the diamond tomorrow. 

But today, there's a $110 million payroll to deal with, and players who must pay approximately 47 percent in Canadian taxes, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal

Alas, Toronto's bold move carries plenty of risk in paying off potential salaries. It also risks the assumption that these players will remain healthy.

But in the end, a risk isn't only what Toronto fans wanted, but what the organizations, its players and the American League East needed.