Like a deep sea swordfish rapidly rocketing toward sunlight, paradigm-transforming reports surfaced today that the Marlins and Blue Jays have agreed to a blockbuster trade sending Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck to the Blue Jays for a truckload of prospects.
I initially brushed off these reports as they made no sense; therefore, I was completely shocked when MLB.com reported this.
The sensible portion: A trade of John Buck was imminent, and moving Josh Johnson was not off the Marlins’ potential move list. Buck has been a disappointment in South Florida, and Josh Johnson has not been as consistent as desired.
The not-so-sensible: Jeffrey Loria made clear this year that Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle were centerpieces he was not planning on moving. And Emilio Bonifacio is a priceless asset for his speed and versatility.
As a whole, this is frustrating. Loria is further exemplifying his incredible impatience with this deal. Without a consistent roster, a team cannot build camaraderie, and thus cannot improve. Had the Nationals shipped their young players and stars off after a meager year of sub-par play, there is no way they would have built up their squad for their division crown in 2012.
As far as the Marlins go, this sort of deal only makes sense in the case of one particular style of team-building that I discussed last month–constructing around Giancarlo Stanton. Stars that clash with Stanton’s stardom and influence may be malignant to the team. However, this explanation really only rationalizes the trade of Reyes. Every team needs a stud ace, regardless of the stardom of any position players. And no pitching rotation, regardless of any great talent of young players and prospects, can function without leadership and experience. After this trade, Ricky Nolasco would assume that leadership role. And although I trust Nolasco as a two or three starter, I do not trust him as an ace to lead a young squad who has just arrived in Miami.
Among the prospects reportedly headed to Miami are shortstops Adeiny Hechavarria and Yunel Escobar. Pitching prospects include Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino. Jake Marisnick, an outfielder, is also included in this unconfirmed deal.
The last time the Marlins made a blockbuster deal, not nearly as magnanimous as this reported trade, none of the six prospects the team got in return (from the Tigers for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis) played more than two or three years with the big league squad. The most successful of the bunch was Cameron Maybin, who has now flourished in San Diego.
Tough times to be a Marlins fan. I might as well become a Blue Jays fan now since my team is just swithching uniforms. And I can’t really call the Marlins my favorite Major League Baseball team since 22 of their 25 roster players are minor leaguers. Maybe the winner of my hat contest should be my new team: remember to voice your opinion on the best hat in the big leagues!