It became official yesterday. Commissioner Bud Selig approved the mega-deal between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and our immortal beloved Jose Reyes are leaving sunny Florida and are headed to the Great White North, while Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Anthony DeSclafani, Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino go south. That’s an awful lot of hyperlinks, don’t you think?
Setting aside whatever opinion you may have of Marlins’ honcho Jeffrey Loria – I happen to think he’s a vile, venal little slug who in the words of author Jeff Pearlman “would trade Christmas if it would make him five bucks” — trades like this are actually fun for the inveterate off-season junkie like myself. I just wish the whole Miami experiment had been given more than ten minutes before it was deemed an abject failure. Most of those guys who just got traded were only signed in late-2011/early-2012. It’s not like any of us should be surprised about the move: it’s the Marlins’ stock in trade. The pull this every couple of years when they remember they won’t pay for quality over any length of time. See how the 1997 World Champions of Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Jeff Conine and Kevin Brown were run through the mill before the champagne in that team’s hair dried. The same thing happened after 2003, after Josh Beckett, Ivan Rodriguez and Carl Pavano made the Yankees go away for a few seasons. There are only two differences here: the Fish aren’t coming off a World Series victory and — so far — the Mets aren’t the beneficiaries of the Loria largesse.
Whenever the Marlins were in a giving mood, it seems the Mets would benefit most directly. After ’97, Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, Dennis Cook and Bonilla ended up in orange and blue. After ’03, Ramon Castro, Gerald Williams and Braden Looper found their way to Queens. All contributed in some way to two separate New York (NL) success cycles. The way things are shaping up up here right now, I wouldn’t have expected the Mets to get a piece of this year’s action. Reyes wasn’t coming back for the money he’s guaranteed from the Marlins – it’s well documented that the Citi denizens can’t afford him. I hope the Labatt’s lovers appreciate him like we did. There was a brief flicker of hope that the last worthwhile pieces of the team – Ricky Nolasco, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison – might be available for a song, but they’re under club control and relatively cheap for the next couple of years, so GM Larry Bienfest will hang onto them until it becomes untenable to do so. Perhaps Sandy Alderson can bide his time and have one or more of these guys fall into his lap, ala Leiter, Looper or Piazza.
Meanwhile, the Mets apparently will be content to sit this one out.
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