On Tuesday, November 13, an anonymous source involved with the two MLB teams announced a huge trade between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays that will include 12 players. The announcement comes less than a year after the Marlins moved to a new, publicly funded ballpark, an occasion that the team complemented with a $191 million splurge on high-profile talent.
For their spending binge in early 2012, the Marlins acquired All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle, and closer Heath Bell. Since the move and rebranding, the Marlins’ onfield results have not lived up to expectations. Despite high hopes, they finished last in the National League’s East division. The Marlins had a projected attendance of almost 3 million for this past season, but only drew in just over 2.2 million fans. Team officials have partly blamed the poor attendance on ex-manager Ozzie Gullen’s inflammatory comments regarding Fidel Castro. Revenue also fell short of projections, and to compensate, owners began paring down the salary in July. At that time the Marlins parted with several players, including Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez; high-profile closer Heath Bell was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in October.
In regards to the recent blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays, the Marlins are back to their old ways of “swapping high-priced talent for top prospects,” according to Sports Illustrated. The Blue Jays are reportedly set to acquire several key players for the next season: pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck. In return, the Marlins will receive a package including several minor league players: pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, and Anthony DeSclafani; shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, centerfielder Jacob Marisnick, and catcher Jeff Mathis.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is currently reviewing the pending trade. According to Fox, Selig spoke at a team owners’ meeting recently, stating “I have this matter under review and I’ve talked to a lot of our people. I am aware of the anger, I am. I’m also aware that in Toronto they’re very happy. I want to think about all of it and I want to review everything. I want to be my usual painstaking, cautious, slow, conservative self in analyzing it.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Larry Beinfest, President of Baseball Operations for the Marlins, hinted at a “big change in direction” for the Marlins, and this blockbuster trade could be just the beginning for a newly-envisioned team. “We’ve kind of lost our Marlins way,” Beinfest said. “The real Marlins way was we always outperformed our challenges. Whatever our challenges were, whether it was playing in a football stadium or weather or a lack of fans, or lack of revenue for that matter, we always found a way to outperform our challenges.” Baseball fans will be interested to see the results of this shake up in the rosters once spring training and the 2013 MLB season get underway.