The Blockbuster Deal – This Week’s Offseason Transactions

Another week has passed in the baseball offseason and this week has been no less
exciting than the last. The big news of the week is the Marlins’ complete overhaul of
the team they worked so hard to obtain. Miami is in a state of chaos with the fans in an
uproar, departing players taking jabs at management, and administration looking for any
sort of shield against it all. On the other end of the spectrum, the Blue Jays are already
poised to make a postseason run based off of their offseason acquisitions. This week’s
edition of Offseason Transactions will put the majority of the focus on the trade and its
consequences on the players, teams, and cities as a whole, while setting aside a little time
for other more minor moves. Click here to view last weeks transactions.

The Trade’s Effect on the Players

Between the Marlins and the Jays, a total of 12 players were swapped, with some of those
players being previous and former all-stars. The Marlins shipped off SS Jose Reyes,
LHP Mark Buerhle, RHP Josh Johnson, C John Buck, OF Emilio Bonifacio and cash for
SS Yunel Escobar, INF Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Henderson Alvarez, RHP Anthony
DeSclafani, LHP Justin Nicolino, C Jeff Mathis, and OF Jake Marisnick. One by one, we
will dissect the trade’s repercussions on the key players of the trade using the same scale
as last week.

Jose Reyes, SS, Marlins – Blue Jays, Fantastic Move
Reyes is always productive in so many different categories: runs, average, steals, etc. But
he’s always had trouble dealing with injuries. Last year he stayed healthy and was his
normal self, swiping 40 bags and hitting close to his career average of .290. His run total
was down from recent years but he now will lead off for a formidable lineup with Jose
Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Brett Lawrie hitting right behind him. Look for Reyes’
numbers to skyrocket this year as long as he stays healthy. A good early round pick
especially since middle infielders are scarce (3rd-4th round).

This is about as happy as it got for Reyes in Miami

Mark Buerhle, LHP, Marlins – Blue Jays, Good Move
Upon hearing that he was traded to the Blue Jays, Buerhle revealed that the Marlins
constantly assured him throughout the season that he would stay in Miami for the long
haul. He said, “[he] was lied to on multiple occasions,” to which the Marlins’ president
of baseball operations Larry Beinfest replied, “Speaking for myself, I am aware of no
assurances.”(1) Buerhle, 33 (2), may be griping about the Marlins’ actions for a while, but this move helps him nonetheless. The Blue Jays’ lineup provides run support which he lacked all last year (he received 3 runs of support or less in 14 games last year.) (3) His win total should be up from last year and he hasn’t showed signs of his velocity slowing down. (4) Definitely a good pick in rounds 8-10.

Josh Johnson, RHP, Marlins – Blue Jays, Good Move
It really doesn’t matter where Johnson is; the bottom line is that he’s one of the elite
pitchers in the game. Yes he’s joining a team with a more formidable lineup which will provide much more run support, but according to ESPN Park Factors, the two parks are one behind the other in terms of how many runs for which they account (Toronto’s stadium provides more runs by .003). (5) Johnson is one of the top pitchers in the game; he’ll go round 2 at the latest.

Josh Johnson, one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball

John Buck, C, Marlins – Blue Jays, Bad Move                                                                                                                    Buck had virtually no competition for the starting job in Miami even when his average was below .200. In Toronto, he’ll be struggling with J.P. Arencibia, who is a young slugger and should have the starting role locked down, and Travis d’Arnaud, a prospect who the Blue Jays adore, for playing time. Even the DH spot has little flexibility with Adam Lind taking that spot. Buck may make the occasional start at catcher and could be viable option for the Jays as a DH against left-handed pitchers. A late round pickup (30-ish) that you shouldn’t count on for a substantial amount of production other than home runs.

Emilio Bonifacio, OF 2B, Marlins – Blue Jays, Fantastic Move
Now that they’ve acquired Bonifacio, the Blue Jays are attempting to shift him from
outfield to second base, maximizing their lineup’s production. (6) Bonifacio hits for average
and has plus speed, making him a solid pick in the middle of the draft. Only time will
tell whether his position change will have an effect on his offensive production. But by
joining this revamped Blue Jays lineup, his run and RBI totals should increase, making
him a much more valuable fantasy player. Also, don’t forget that he is now a middle
infielder, a position where there are not many solid options. Look for Bonifacio to go in
rounds 14-17.

Bonifacio dives back to first while attempting to blow a bubble. Quite the multi-tasker.

Yunel Escobar, SS, Blue Jays – Marlins, Bad Move
Escobar is leaving a team chalk-full of run-producers and he is headed to a team looking
to completely rebuild. Giancarlo Stanton, the last remaining formidable force in the
Marlins lineup, is visibly upset over the blockbuster and if he’s not out of Miami soon,
his season could be a wreck. Escobar will be shouldering the RBI load with Stanton,
and Logan Morrison, proving that there just isn’t enough firepower in Miami right now.
Although he is a good player and should have a fine season overall, don’t look for his
numbers to be over his career averages. Escobar is a good mid-draft pick (18th round
or so.)

Adeiny Hechavarria, INF, Blue Jays – Marlins, Good Move
Hechavarria was one of the top prospects in the Jays’ system before he was traded.
Unfortunately, that system was stocked with top prospects. Now that he is in Miami,
an organization with few future stars, Hechavarria could be one of the cornerstones of
the Marlins’ future. The team of the future could be built around him along with Logan
Morrison, Giancarlo Stanton, and Henderson Alvarez. This team could be phenomenal in
a few years, but right now, Hechavarria is not at the all-star level he is projected to be. He
should be picked pretty late in the draft, around rounds 32-33.

Henderson Alvarez, RHP, Blue Jays – Marlins, Bad Move
Last year, Alvarez could not consistently find his form, which led to his undesirable 4.85
ERA and .290 BAA. Despite those stats, he managed to go 9-14 thanks to his beloved
offense. (7) Now, he joins a team that ranked second to last in runs scored last year and 24th or worse in AVG, OBP, and SLG. Now that he has a full year of experience under his belt, his ERA should improve and his BAA should lower. But his record was acceptable due to the help his offense provided. That being said, Alvarez should go in the latest rounds, roughly 35-40.

The Trade’s Effect on the Teams

In the offseason before last year, the Marlins made headlines after signing
Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, and Heath Bell to lucrative, long-term deals and declared that
they would stay in Miami for many years. Fans in Miami began to care for the first time.
It seemed as if their administration actually cared about the team. It could be the dawn of
a new era in downtown Miami. One year and a last-place finish in the division later, two
of those hallmark superstars were dealt. If the fans hadn’t already been calling for the
general manager’s head, they were screaming for it now. The few players who truly
excited them and actually provided hope for the team, were gone in an instant. How
could their organization be so mercurial and capricious? One year they seem to be poised
for a championship, yet the next, they find themselves in a state of rebuilding? How
could this be possible? Before 2012, the Marlins had very little fan support. After 2012,
only a couple of die-hard fans remained. To persevere through the turmoil following their
manager’s pro-Castro remarks, their boring play game after game, and their horrendous
record at the end of the season is something that few fans could stomach. This year is
going to be a tough one for the Marlins because they will have to deal with the
repercussions of rebuilding their team and the discontent of their fans. But overall, it was
a move that was necessary for the better of their organization.
The Blue Jays on the other hand, are in a position that they have not been in for
many years now. They have made some terrific acquisitions so far this offseason that
put them in a great spot for making a run to the World Series. They have bolstered their
already powerful lineup through the acquirements of Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, and
Emilio Bonifacio and have fixed major holes in their rotation by obtaining Josh Johnson
and Mark Buerhle. It looks as if they have all the fixings to be a playoff team aside from
a solid bullpen. But this blockbuster leaves the Jays in a tremendous position to capture
the AL East title for the first time in a while.

Other Transactions This Past Week:

Hiroki Kuroda resigned with the Yankees on a one-year deal. Kuroda was a key
component of the Yankees rotation for the entire season and was arguably their best
starter. Resigning him was the Yankees’ main goal heading into this offseason.

Jeremy Guthrie resigned with the Royals on a three-year, $25 million deal, a move that
should help the Royals immensely seeing as how they have a very weak rotation. It was
very important for the Royals to keep Guthrie in Kansas City.

Chone Figgins was designated for assignment by the Mariners even though he had one
year and $8 million left on his contract. (8)

Ryan Raburn was released by the Tigers in order to make room for top relief prospect
Bruce Rondon. (9)

The Orioles trade INF Robert Andino to the Mariners for OF Trayvon Robinson, a move
that should hurt Andino’s fantasy value because of the lackluster Mariners lineup he will
join while keeping Robinson’s fantasy stock neutral since he did not play in Seattle and
should not expect to see much time in Baltimore either.

Dewayne Wise resigned with the Chicago White Sox on a one-year deal.

Jonny Gomes signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Boston Red Sox and leaves
the Oakland Athletics behind. This should be a neutral move for Gomes because the Red
Sox lineup has a lot of players who can get on base in front of him, but the dimensions of
the Green Monster in Boston won’t help his home run tally in the slightest.