Marlins' fire sale sends 5 front-liners to Toronto

11:47 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson throws the first pitch of the regular season at Marlins Park during the Opening Day baseball game between the Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Miami.
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Miami, FL-- In what would be one of the biggest trades in recent history, the Marlins have agreed to send shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle, right-hander Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and utility man Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays in exchange for a package of young players.

Among the young players reportedly headed to Miami are shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, right-handers Henderson Alvarez and Anthony DeScalfani, catcher Jeff Mathis, minor-league left-hander Justin Nicolino and outfielder Jake Marisnick. Insider Jon Heyman confirms the original reporting of's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi.

The Marlins are also sending $4 million to the Jays, which means the Jays will still be assuming more than $150 million in guaranteed monies.

In essence, the Jays will swap out Escobar for Reyes at the shortstop position, and they'll fortify the troublesome rotation with the innings-eating Buehrle and the high-upside Johnson. Buck gives them a surfeit of catching, from which it's entirely possible they'll deal further.

Reyes is coming off a season in which he batted .287/.347/.433 with 60 extra-base hits and 40 steals in 51 attempts. Playing on the artificial surface in Toronto should only help his game.

Buehrle is coming off his 12th straight season of at least 200 innings pitched. In nine of those 12 seasons (including last season), he's posted a sub-4.00 ERA. Johnson, meanwhile, posted a career-worst ERA of 3.81 in 2012, but his peripherals remained strong. For Johnson a bounce-back (with the proper adjustments made for his new home park and jump up in competition), seems likely. Both pitchers will be of great help to a team that used 12 different starters this past season.

Should the deal be finalized it will of course position the Blue Jays as 2013 contenders, and it will also position the Marlins as one of the most absurdly run franchises in all of sports (which they already were to a lesser extent). Since there's money involved, commissioner Bud Selig will need to sign off on the deal. Heyman and fellow insider Danny Knobler each report that he's expected to do so.

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