The Miami Marlins made a huge firesale deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, sending recently signed shortstop Jose Reyes, starter Mark Buehrle, starter Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck, utility guy Emilio Bonifacio and cash for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, shortstop/third baseman Yunel Escobar, starter Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis, pitching prospect Justin Nicolino, outfield prospect Jacob Marisnick and pitching prospect Anthony Desclafani.
Initial response to this deal was one of shock, especially with the Marlins dealing Reyes and Buehrle a year after signing them to long term deals. On the surface, this deal is a firesale deal for the last place Marlins. But, if you take a closer look at the team, and what they have done since last summer, you can see that they turned their backs on the Miami taxpayers who supported their new stadium, but it was a good baseball move for the team. You see, they were a last place team before they signed Reyes and Buehrle last offseason, and they were a last place team with them, so they cut their losses early, and got some decent prospects and major league players to hold them over till they can complete their rebuild.
Furthermore, if you look at the details of the Reyes and Buehrle contracts, both were back loaded deals that are now the responsibility of the Toronto Blue Jays. Plus, it isn't like the Marlins were trading aways young superstars. They traded away Reyes who, when healthy, is an all star caliber shortstop, but he comes with injury risk. Josh Johnson has had shoulder problems in each of the last three seasons, so he brings injury risk with him to Toronto as well. But, when healthy, he can be one of the more dominant starters in baseball.
Back to those back end loaded deals for Reyes and Buehrle, take a look:
12:$10M, 13:$10M, 14:$16M, 15:$22M, 16:$22M, 17:$22M, 18:$22M club option ($4M buyout)
12:$6M, 13:$11M, 14:$18M, 15:$19M
Both of their contracts become very expensive in 2014, with Reyes contract getting even more expensive beginning in 2015.
For the Marlins, they get two players in Escobar and Hechavarria who should man the right side of their infield for several years. In Nicolino, they get a pitching prospect who could be a middle of the rotation arm in a few years. Alvarez is a middle to back end of the rotation starter who went..... in 2012.
Now let's take a look at the fantasy impact of this deal:
Jose Reyes: I don't see his value changing all that much, except he could score a few more runs in the improving Blue Jays lineup. He gives the team a legitimate lead off hitter who will get on base, score runs, hit for a bit of power, steal some bases, play good defense at shortstop, and be the catalyst to their offense.
Emilio Bonifacio: Bonifacio will probably lose a bit of value as he will be a super-utility guy, capable of playing all over the infield, but more than likely won't play everyday.
John Buck: He is a candidate to be traded, as the team already has J.P. Arencibia as their starting catcher, and top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud almost ready. d'Arnaud probably needs some time in AAA as he recovers from knee surgery last season. Buck loses value as he will probably be a backup until d'Arnaud is ready, but will become expendable by midseason. Either that, or the Blue Jays can deal Arencibia instead.
Josh Johnson: In Johnson, the Blue Jays get an ace-level starter.....when he is healthy. Johnson has dealt with shouder issues in each of the last three seasons, so he comes to Toronto with some risk. Johnson's value all depends on how healthy the shoulder is in spring training.
Mark Buehrle: He might be one of the most valuable pieces in this deal, as he is a proven veteran starter, who won't dominate, but will be an innings eater, saving the Blue Jays bullpen in most starts. He has thrown 200+ innings with double digit wins in 12 straight seasons. Expect more of the same.
Henderson Alvarez: Alvarez's value probably increases a bit, as he will be a staple in the Marlins rotation in 2013, and could see a slight bump in strikeouts moving from the AL to the NL. His 3.80 K rate was the lowest in the majors in 2012 amongst qualified starting pitchers, per Fangraphs.
Jeff Mathis: Mathis is nothing more than a backup catcher, and only draftable in the deepest of mixed leagues, and two catcher NL only leagues. He will backup Rob Brantly.
Adeiny Hechavarria: Hechavarria is the Marlins new starting shortstop. The soon to be 24 year old shortstop won't hit for much power or flash much speed, but could hit for a decent average, but that may be stretching it. In 126 big league at bats last season, he hit just .254-.280-.365 with 2 HRs, 10 runs and 15 RBI. In the hitter friendly environment of the Pacific Coast League last season, he hit .312-.363-.424 with 6 HRs, 78 runs, 63 RBI and 8 stolen bases, but I don't see him coming close to that in the National League. He is waiver wire fodder in mixed leagues and rosterable in NL only leagues.
Yunel Escobar: Escobar will be the Marlins starting third baseman in 2013, and his value stays relatively the same. His runs and RBI totals may take a hit in the Marlins decimated lineup. He is not your typical fantasy third baseman, as he hit for little power. He is waiver wire material in mixed leagues and only rosterable in NL only leagues.
Justin Nicolino: Bret Sayre wrote this piece where he and Craig Goldstein offer their thoughts on Nioolino and others.
Jacob Marisnick: Marisnick is a 5 tool outfielder who will have to show off more of his tools in AA in 2013, as he struggled in his first look at AA pitching in 2012, hitting just .233-.286-.336 with just 2 HRs, 25 runs, 15 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 247 plate appearances. For the season, he hit 9 HRs, scored 75 runs, knocked in 58 and stole 29 bases. He can play either center field or right field, so it appears the Marlins will keep him in center field until they deal Giancarlo Stanton at some point in the next three years.
Anthony Desclafani: Desclafani pitched in Low A ball last season, going 11-3 with a 3.44 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 1.39 WHIP, a 6.73 strikeouts per nine and a 1.83 walks per nine. He gave up 146 hits in 123 innings, with just 3 of them going over the wall.