There is outrage. Marlins fans feel duped into paying for a new stadium. Baseball fans are ticked that the Marlins could do this fire sale thing for a third time and still be considered a pro franchise. Everyone is too close right now. You can’t see the forest through the trees. Take a step back with me, won’t you?
Miami is shipping SS Jose Reyes (5 years, $96 million left) and SP Mark Buehrle (3 years, $48 million left) who both just signed long-term deals with the Marlins last offseason. C John Buck has one year remaining at $6 million, SP Josh Johnson has one year at $13.75 million and OF Emilio Bonifacio is eligible for arbitration after making $2.2 million last year.
A lot of big names. I get it. It looks like the team is giving up. Here is my take though:
1. The Marlins won 69 games last season! They didn’t just win a World Series and tear it apart. They are tearing apart a craptacular last-place team people.
2. You can have Reyes. He is overpaid and overrated. He is 29 now, and in my opinion is more about himself than the team. He wasn’t a solution last year. He struggled until after the all-star break, and finally started hitting when Miami was already out of it.
3. Buehrle is 33 and being paid like a top starter. He is a serviceable middle-of-the-rotation starter giving you those results (ERA of 3.74 with 13 wins). He isn’t an ace or part of a rebuilding process.
4. Johnson pitched like an ace in 2010, but got hurt in 2011 and didn’t pitch great this season (3.81 ERA, 9 wins). He’s been injury prone to this point in his career, and I can’t blame Miami for not wanting to either lose him for nothing as a free agent after 2013 or pay to keep a player that has been hit or miss to this point and will be 29 before next year begins, not a young up-and-comer anymore.
5. Buck is irrelevant and Bonifacio is a sacrifice of making the trade, and a player not promised to stick.
The Blue Jays are sending SS Yunel Escobar (one year, $5 million left, team option for 2014-15), SP Henderson Alvarez (2 years left before arbitration eligible making $482k next season), C Jeff Mathis (3rd year arbitration eligible this season, could make $1.5 million in 2013) and prospects OF Jake Marisnick, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, LHP Justin Nicolino, and RHP Anthony DeSclafani.
The Baseball America rankings released last week have Marisnick as Toronto’s No. 2 prospect, Nicolino as No. 5 and Hechevarria as No. 8.
A Marlins fan might be disappointed they didn’t land Jays top prospect C Travis D’Arnaud or even young major leaguers 3B Brett Lawrie or OF Anthony Gose. Understandable I suppose, but I wasn’t there for the negotiations and considering the significant difference in salary I imagine Toronto didn’t want to part with major league ready talent if it was trying to win now.
A reason D’Arnaud wasn’t included might be because they acquired C Rob Brantly from the Tigers in the Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez trade, plus they have their own prospect in JT Realmuto in the minors a couple years away.
So again, back to the big picture, Toronto picked up the “key” pieces to making a 69-win team. The Blue Jays only won 73 games themselves last year. I know that is simple math, and I recognize that by making the moves they did, they improved their roster for 2013. But to what extent? And beyond that?
They have a potential, but I am not sure how much. Will Bautista come back healthy? Will Morrow become an ace? Will Encarnacion repeat last year’s career year? Is Ricky Romero going to bounce back to 2011 form? Will Brett Lawrie emerge after a disappointing 2012 debut?
Those are a lot of questions before we even get to the Marlins players coming in and the questions about them. I don’t see Toronto as a playoff team unless a lot of things fall in place, and that would just be a playoff team, not a World Series winning team.
Meanwhile the Marlins moved on from older players who weren’t part of the solution. Yes, they brought “name” value to the franchise and players to feel excited about for the fan base. Yes, if I was a Marlins fan, I am disappointed about last year being a disaster. Nothing worked out. I just don’t think you should feel betrayed by Jeffrey Loria as much as you should feel discouraged that you are rebuilding again after you thought/hoped last season’s spending would deliver a title.
Perhaps they are cheap. And they were stupid based on the results a season ago in the moves they made. But knowing when to press the eject button and getting yourself out of another failed year is not stupid. I think we’ll look back on this in 2-3 years and say the Marlins won this deal.