Here's my take on last night's Blue Jays / Marlins megadeal.
Deals like this don't happen in a vacuum. To understand why the deal happened and who would be the winner and loser from this deal you have to understand the surrounding circumstances. The Marlins finished last in the NL East in 2012 with the big contracts of Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and John Buck. Chances are at worst they can finish last without those big contracts. The Blue Jays' record wasn't much better than the Marlins (73 wins vs 69) but you have to understand that GM Alex Anthopoulis just allowed their manager John Farrell to move over to division rival Red Sox. Anthopoulis had to make a big splash to make a run this year because if Farrell leads Boston to a better record than Toronto this year Anthoupilis would be sure to be asked why he allowed Farrell to move on. The Yankees are the Yankees but Blue Jay fans have to ask why division rival Baltimore became a playoff team in the same time frame that Anthopoulis was running the team with Toronto languishing at just 73 wins.
The circumstances were right for a big deal.
The Marlins get back a number of prospects plus potential headcase Yunel Escobar. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Sports has a good rundown of what the Marlins will be getting in the trade. It is entirely possible that someone will sit Escobar down and tell him this could be his last chance to be a name player in MLB. If his head is screwed on straight Escobar could equal Jose Reyes contribution for the Marlins at a much reduced price tag. If Escobar doesn't toe the line - then he's a one year headache. In Buehrle and Johnson the Marlins are losing a total of 62 starts at a little better than league adjusted average ERA - it doesn't sound so impressive when you put it like that does it?
The real gem for the Blue Jays in this deal is Josh Johnson who will be in both the second year after Tommy John surgery and his free agent walk year. That's a recipe for a Cy Young type season in the making. Mark Buehrle is a glorified 3rd started in the AL East and Jose Reyes is a player whose game is based upon speed but who will be playing his home games now on an artificial surface and whose contract will end when he's 34 or 35 years old.
If Johnson wins 20 games next year people will say Anthoupolis won this deal but long term I think this is better for the Marlins. If Vegas set the over / under for wins for Miami at 69 then I'd bet that a combination of misfit toys and young players will actually do better than the high salary 2012 team. Jeff Loria will get lots of heat for this deal but it was the right move for his team (and yes - his pocketbook - not arguing that factor in the deal).