The Miami Marlins just traded five players, plus their dignity, to the Toronto Blue Jays for little more than salary relief. In all, the Blue Jays receive all-star shortstop Jose Reyes, ace Josh Johnson, durable pitcher Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck, and super-utility man Emilio Bonifacio. The Marlins will receive shortstop Yunel Escobar, who is known primarily for his notoriously bad attitude, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, and prospects Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and Adeiny Hechavarria.
To say this is merely a salary dump is understating the absurdity of this trade. At least when the Boston Red Sox gave up Adrian Gonzalez, they made the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the albatross that is Carl Crawford and his contract. In this case, the the Blue Jays instantly become contenders in the tough AL East without taking any bad contracts, while the Marlins entirely rebuild under owner/cheapskate Jeffrey Loria. Reyes is signed for five more years, and he’s only 29 years old. Johnson, who when healthy is one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, is signed for one year at $13.5 million. Buehrle is signed for three more years, and has shown no signs of slowing down at 33. Bonifacio is only making 2.2 million dollars in 2013 and is incredibly speedy, and Buck is a catcher with power who is signed for a reasonable contract. So Toronto gains 5 assets and 0 liabilities.
If that isn’t crazy enough, what did Toronto really have to give up? Escobar is solid defensively, but he hasn’t hit well in three years, and infamously got suspended for writing a gay slur on his eye-black in September. Alvarez struck out an absurdly low 3.8 batters per nine innings, and if a pitcher can’t miss any bats, he’s simply not going to be effective no matter how effective his walk and ground ball rates are. Hechavarria is only 23, but he doesn’t walk, has no power, and is not a good base stealer. Marsnick is a decent prospect, though he had a poor 2012 season after a very good 2011. Nicolino is probably the best player in this deal, as he’s 21, struck out nearly a batter per inning, and had a 2.46 ERA in 2012. However, Nicolino has yet to play above A-ball, and he is by no means a guaranteed star. So even if I were being generous, the Marlins receive more question marks than true assets, while giving up every valuable player they have except for Giancarlo Stanton. After moving to a new ballpark, the Marlins look like they might actually spend to contend, but after one disastrous year, they seem content to simply help other teams do so.
blog from Andy Sussman