Last week’s blockbuster 12-player trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins shook the very foundation of the baseball world. In an unexpected fashion, the Marlins agreed to send four-time all-star shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck and infielder Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto.
In return, Miami receive struggling shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis and four minor-leaguers. The trade has Blue Jay fans ecstatic about the rapid improvement of the roster.
The Blue Jays’s monster deal with the Marlins works out unequivocally in Toronto’s favour, a trade that instantly turned Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos into a folk hero.
When compared to the injury riddled rotation the Jays fielded last season, the Jays’s new five-man rotation will rank as one of the strongest pitching staffs in the American League. This makes Toronto a contender to challenge the aging New York Yankees and budding Baltimore Orioles for their division next season.
In addition, the recent signing of former San Francisco Giants all-star Melky Cabrera was the cherry on top of an incredible week for the Jays. Cabrera, who is coming off a controversial suspension for performance enhancing drugs, was one of the Major Leagues’s most proficient hitters and the MVP of the 2012 all-star game before his suspension. Despite only being a month into free agency, these recent acquisitions have skyrocketed the Blue Jays in the Las Vegas betting lines from 35–1 to 11–1 — the same odds as the Yankees — to win the 2013 World Series.
However, this trade raised eyebrows around the league before being finalized on Nov. 19. The issues surrounding the trade primarily focused on Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
After playing their inaugural season in a brand new $634 million dollar Sun Life Stadium — a publicly-funded park — the Marlins spent heavily in the 2011 off-season with a combined salary of $191 million for the 2012 season. This included key members of the Blue Jays trade, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. After a beyond disappointing 69–93 season, the Marlins have traded $161 million of that $191 and left zero dollars committed for the 2014 season.
However, even though the team spent so much to bring these players to Miami, most of these players were given back-loaded contracts — the majority of their paychecks would come later in their contracts. This gave Loria the opportunity to dump off an overwhelming majority of the salaries before ever having to pay them.
The fans in Miami have been outraged by this deal, many whom have expressed disgust with Loria’s apparent deceitfulness. Loria is being targeted for essentially pocketing fan revenue from their new stadium in attempt to protect his own wealth. What was at first a promise to contend for a division title by bringing in quality talent is now considered a shameful and complete embarrassment to baseball.
When a team doesn’t perform, sometimes a good manager knows when it’s time to rebuild, especially since the Marlins finished last in their division last season. On the other hand, dismantling a team in this fashion is not typical after one losing season, raising overwhelming suspicion regarding the motives of the Marlins’s head office.
Blue Jays fans can now look forward to spring training as they prepare to field one of the strongest lineups in the Major Leagues.