Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The baseball world is clamoring after the huge, 12-player, trade between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays.  For Miami, this was the third 'fire sale' in recent history for the young Marlin franchise.  For Toronto, it was the kind of move that a team makes that is trying to compete in the Big-Money AL-East.  Miami fans, and remaining players like Giancarlo Stanton are livid.....well Stanton is.  I am not sure if the Marlins have enough fans in South Florida to matter.  Blue Jay fans are excited, and so are their veteran players. 

The question is, which group is correct in their responses, if either.

let's take a look.

TO TORONTO                                                           TO MIAMI
P Josh Johnson                                                               SS Yunel Escobar
P Mark Buehrle                                                              SS Adeiny Hechavarria
SS Jose Reyes                                                                P Henderson Alvarez
UT Emilio Bonifacio                                                        P Justin Nicolino
C John Buck                                                                   OF Jacob Marisnick
                                                                                       C Jeff Mathis
                                                                                       P Anthony DeSclafani

This is the old story of trading expensive veterans for young, cheap, talent.  The Blue Jays are getting half of a rotation, with Josh Johnson being a potential Ace.  They are also getting a quality Utility player who can play 6 positions, switch hit for a decent average, and steal bases.  And, speaking of stolen bases, they are getting one of the most dynamic leadoff men in the Majors....if they can keep Jose Reyes on the field.  John Buck is a throw away in the deal, I expect that the Marlins insisted on him to let the others go, due to his relatively high salary for a poor hitting catcher. 

This gives the Jays this potential line up

SP Josh Johnson 8-14 3.15 ERA
SP Mark Buehrle 13-13 3.74 ERA
SP J.A. Happ 10-11 4.79 ERA
SP Brandon Morrow 10-7 2.96 ERA
SP Carlos Villanueva 7-7 4.16 ERA
CP Casey Jannsen 22/25 Saves 67 1.05 SO/IP 2.54 ERA

SS Jose Reyes .433/.287/11/57 40 SB 86 Runs
CF Colby Rasmus .400/.223/23/75 (Has the potential to be a young star, but he needs plate discipline)
RF Jose Bautista .527/.241/27/65

1B Edwin Encarnacion .404/.302/22/54 DH Adam Lind .414/.255/11/45 C J.P. Arencibia .435/.233/18/56 (projects to 25 home runs)
3B Brett Lawrie .405/.273/11/48
2B Kelly Johnson .365/.225/16/55 LF Anthony Gose .319/.223/1/11 (Young call-up is a big potential guy in left field)

There is a lot of talent in that lineup, but nearly every player in it failed to meet expectations last year.  That said, there are not going to be glaring holes in it.  They will have speed guys, power guys, and couple guys who will hit for good averages.  And, they will do that without giving up the ability to play defense.  They should be very solid in the field as well...BUT, they have to have more plate discipline.  This is a roster full of free swingers.

That said, most teams would gladly go with that lineup, and they can win with it.  The bigger problem for the Jays was their pitching, and that's why all the conversations around this trade for the Blue Jays should start with 2 questions.
  1. Can Josh Johnson be an Ace?
  2. Can Mark Buerhle be the veteran presence to help the young Jays pitchers progress?
If you look at Johnson's stats, you see 2 things.  First, he pitched a full load of games and innings, and he struck out a fair number of batters.  That, and he didn't get much run support.  If you put up a 3.15 ERA, and have 22 games of records and lose over 60% of those games, you didn't get much help.  If he does that in Toronto, he will win 17 games.

Buerhle can still eat innings, and he will definitely be a good example for these young pitchers in how to compete.  I think the Jays will be best served if someone can beat him out for the #2 spot in the rotation, but that would be a big stride for one of these young men to make.  This starting rotation is definitely going to be the weak spot on this team.  The upside to that is that this trade will push 2 former starters into the bullpen, which should improve the Jays there. 

I don't believe that this trade makes them the favorite in the AL East, that will be the Yankees until someone beats them...however, they are better for the move.  The cost of the deal will be huge if this doesn't make.  Reyes and Buerhle alone have 148 million dollars remaining on contracts.

As for the Marlins?

Well, they shaved off around a quarter billion dollar in contracts and got 4 of the top prospects in the Blue Jays organization.  They have new starters for the middle of their infield, and a couple other major league-quality pieces to plug in.

Who knows if they will be any good, but I know I would be sorely disappointed if I was a Marlins fan.  They had gone out and gotten a nucleus of good players, and brought them down to a new stadium.  Now, it's more of the same greed out of the same old owner. 
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