Toronto Blue Jays STEAL Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, And Others From Miami Marlins As Jeffrey Loria Screws Marlins Fans, AGAIN

On Tuesday evening there was an epic, shocking, jaw dropping baseball trade that shook the baseball world. It started off with the Toronto Blue Jays acquiring ace pitcher Josh Johnson from the Miami Marlins. Then a few minutes later, Johnson’s newest teammate in 2011, fellow pitcher, Mark Buehrle was added to the trade. The Blue Jays were getting two top of the rotation starting pitchers! Who could have seen that coming? What happened about five to ten minutes later is what really made this trade shake the baseball world. As Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS were breaking this trade, everyone was saying wow, the Blue Jays are really trying to fix their disastrous rotation and trying to make some noise in the tough AL East. The deal wasn’t even close to being finished with notable players headed to the Blue Jays though. After five to ten minutes of finding out Johnson and Buehrle were headed to Toronto, we all learned that superstar shortstop Jose Reyes was Toronto bound as well. That was when the social media world blew up and was found just mocking the Miami Marlins for what they were doing.

Last November, the Miami Marlins debuted their new name, the “Miami Marlins”, after being called the “Florida Marlins” since they became a team. They were also moving into a brand new spacious ballpark in downtown Miami that was mostly funded with taxpayers dollars. Team owner Jeffrey Loria then said proceeded to sign three stars to come play for the new look Marlins. One of those guys was Heath Bell, who was known as one of the best closers in the game with the San Diego Padres, and was signed to a three-year, $27 million contract. Then they signed Mark Buehrle, who had been an anchor for the Chicago Whitesox rotation for so many years, to a four-year, $58 million contract. Finally, they signed shortstop Jose Reyes, formerly of the New York Mets for his whole career so far, to a six-year, $106 million contract. They had also already made a trade at the end of the 2011 season to bring in controversial Whitesox manager Ozzie Guillen in to manage the Marlins and get more fans to the new ballpark. Going into the 2012 season the Marlins looked like one of the better teams in the National League and some picked them to win the NL pennant and even the World Series. Well, those predictions quickly turned into bad picks  as the Marlins had a season of turmoil.

Bell and Guillen would have an ugly relationship and exchange words through the season. Bell himself had a horrible year, pitching to a 4-5 record, a 5.09 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP, and only 19 saves.  The team would then trade for Houston Astros slugger Carlos Lee on July 4th to play first base for them, but that trade never totally worked out for them. On July 23rd, with their playoff chances looking bleak, the Marlins traded young starter Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for one of their top pitching prospects, Jacob Turner, their top catching prospect, Rob Brantly, and pitcher Brian Flynn. That signaled the end of their playoff push in 2012. Buehrle would pitch to a 13-13 record, a 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 125 strikeouts, which are all pretty much in line with his career averages. Reyes would have a rough start to the season, but would finish with a .287 batting average, 11 homers, 57 RBI’s, 86 runs scored, 40 steals, 30 doubles, and 12 triples. After having three injury riddled seasons before coming to Miami, Reyes would play in 160 games in 2012. So two out of the three new additions worked out at least. The Marlins would finish 69-93 and in last place in the NL East. A total abomination after many people felt like they could be the best team in the NL. A few days after the season ended, the Marlins would fire Guillen after just one season and would eventually hire former catcher, Mike Redmond, to a three-year deal to be their new manager. On October 20th, the Marlins traded Bell after only one season to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three team deal with the Oakland A’s, who received Diamondbacks center fielder, Chris Young. Finally, all the rest of the dominoes would fall as the Marlins traded Johnson, Buehrle, Reyes, outfielder/infielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to the Blue Jays for four major leaguers and three minor leaguers.

How could the Marlins owner, Jeffrey Loria, do this to the fans? Not only did the Miami-Dade county tax payers pay for this brand new ballpark, but only ONE YEAR, just ONE YEAR, after signing those three big free agents, Loria goes and trades all three this off-season, and will be fielding a horrible, and I repeat, horrible, team in 2013. The Marlins didn’t get many fans to the ballpark in 2012 in its first season, but now it’ll definitely be a ghost town with an even worse team. The only player worth watching, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who is only 22 years old and has 93 career homers, and is arguably the best power hitter in baseball, has already voiced his displeasure over this trade by tweeting “Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple”. So the situation is even uglier down in Miami now, with the face of the franchise clearly upset over Loria blowing up the team. I’m going to repeat the words that my dad has been repeating since this trade happened, “I just don’t understand why Loria would do this. It’s not even like he gave the team a couple of years to figure it out, he let one season depict the team’s future and decided to blow it up immediately. And now he won’t get anyone at the new stadium and screwed all the die-hard fans. I’m not even a fan of the Marlins, but I just don’t understand why he did this, and how he thinks this improves them. He really screwed everyone and fu**ed up badly.” I couldn’t even agree more with that. Simply put, Jeffrey Loria screwed the Marlins fans and screwed the taxpayers by stealing their money to build the stadium and now he has held a fire sale and is guaranteeing that no one steps foot into that stadium. No one will trust Loria again and no big name free agents will ever sign with the team again as long as Loria is owning the team. Loria should be arrested for fraud and should not be aloud to own a MLB team, especially after he screwed up with the Montreal Expos, and now with what he’s doing to the Miami Marlins. He’s a liar and a stealer and should be kicked out of Major League Baseball. Commissioner Bud Selig HAS to do something about Loria and has to do it fast before he somehow does something even worse to the franchise. Anyways, let’s get back to the trade.

The Marlins get these major leaguers: shortstop Yunel Escobar, who is only a .282 hitter, producing 10-15 homers a season, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who is not a big time player, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, who had a disappointing 2012 campaign with a 4.85 ERA, catcher Jeff Mathis, who is a career .198 hitter. They also get these minor leaguers: pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who had a very promising year at A ball, pitching to an 11-3 record, a 3.37 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and a 3.68 K/BB ratio, they also get pitcher Justin Nicolino, who in A ball in 2012 had a 10-4 record, a 2.46 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, and a 5.67 K/BB ratio, and finally, they get outfielder Jake Marisnick, who in 2012, split time at A ball and AA and hit .249, eight homers, 50 RBI’s, scored 66 runs, hit 29 doubles, and 10 triples. The major leaguers aren’t too flashy, but the minor leaguers sure are promising and add a huge boost to the Marlins farm system.

I think the Blue Jays are HUGE winners in this trade. We saw another huge trade back in August involving huge contracts when the Boston Redsox traded first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, starting pitcher Josh Beckett, and outfielder Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That trade was outrageous on all levels for the Dodgers, as they’re stuck with those huge contracts as Beckett is up there in age, Crawford is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Adrian Gonzalez struggled mightily in 2012. In the Blue Jays case, they get a 29-year-old shortstop in his prime to lead off for them, although he is owed $96 million still. Also, the Blue Jays had arguably the worst pitching in 2012 and now have a legitimate ACE in Josh Johnson to be their number one pitcher and get Mark Buehrle, who was in the AL with the Whitesox from 2000-2011 as their number one pitcher. He pitched very well as their number one pitcher and is back in the AL to be a number two starter which should make him all the more better. The Jays also get to move their young rising pitcher Ricky Romero, who was absolutely bombarded in 2012 as their number one pitcher, into the number three slot, where he is more fitted to pitch and will definitely put up better numbers. I like the new look rotation a lot with Johnson, Buehrle, and Romero. I expect the Jays to make a free agent addition for the back-end of their rotation right now to bolster it a bit. Johnson is nearly unhittable when healthy, but that’s the issue, he has a history of injuries. Johnson had Tommy John surgery performed on him on August 3rd, 2007, but came back very quick and made his next start on July 10th, 2008. To start his 2011 season, Johnson had a no-hitter go into the fifth inning in four of his first five starts. Unfortunately though, Johnson’s 2011 season would be cut short after nine starts as he would be shut down for the remainder of the season with right shoulder inflammation. In 2012, Johnson made 31 starts and pitched to an 8-14 record, 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and struck out 165 batters. If he can remain healthy, he’s a tremendous addition for their rotation and the Blue Jays will finally have their ace.

Now lets look at this improved lineup. This is a Blue Jays team who already had two big time 40+ HR sluggers in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnarcion. They also had one of the young rising starts in the game in Brett Lawrie at third base. They also have a slugging catcher in J.P. Arencibia and a big time catching prospect on the fast track to the majors in Travis d’Arnaud, who in 67 games at AAA Las Vegas in 2012, hit .333, with 16 homers. So the catcher/DH combo looks like it may be locked up in 2013 by Arencibia and d’Arnaud, unless one of them is traded, which is not out of the question. The Jays now have a speedy, gold glove caliber shortstop, who can hit lead off for them and set the table for the big bats in the middle of the order. Lets not forget about Emilio Bonifacio, he’s a speedster as well, who in a full season in 2011, batted .296 and stole 40 bases. He can play any position as he has at least some experience at every position but first base, catcher, and pitcher. So he’s a very good utility man to have that can be plugged into the number two hole behind Reyes, or hit at the bottom and add some spark down there. All I know is, is that a lineup that consists of Reyes, Bonifacio, Bautista, Encarnarcion, Lawrie, and Arencibia is scary. With the Redsox rebuilding now and not having too much of a lineup, the Yankees growing older and getting less production out of their lineup, the Rays not having the money to improve their lineup and losing B.J. Upton this winter, and the Orioles not having too many big names in their lineup and not much money to spend either to improve it, the Blue Jays may have the best lineup in the AL East and with the improvement to their rotation as well, they may have the best team in the East. I’m not saying that they do, and I’m not picking the Jays to win the East in 2013, but they will be way better and will challenge for the AL East title.

I think the Blue Jays smelled blood and weakness in the Yankees and Redsox and saw that the Rays and Orioles don’t scare them, and pulled the trigger on this huge trade to get themselves over the hump and into the AL East title picture. I love the risk they’re taking and really think it’ll pay off. It also adds so much more excitement and competitiveness to the AL East, so that’s a great thing too. I can’t wait to watch this new look Toronto Blue Jays team in 2013, that’s for sure. What a way to start off the 2012-2013 off-season, the hot stove sure is cooking. We haven’t even seen any of the top free agents sign yet either, so we still have a lot of big news to go this off-season. Enjoy the off-season everybody.

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