MIAMI The rumored blockbuster deal between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays has been finalized.
As part of their big salary dumping trade, Miami will send All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays. In exchange, they'll get seven relatively low-priced players.
Miami received infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino, catcher Jeff Mathis and outfielder Jake Marisnick under the deal, which was agreed to last week and completed Monday. The Marlins also are sending Toronto cash.
The trade was finalized after baseball Commissioner Bud Selig decided not to block it.
"This transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs (and) does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion," Selig said in a statement. "It is, of course, up to the clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future."
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The players traded by the Marlins have combined guaranteed salaries of $163.75 million through 2018, including $96 million due Reyes and the $52 due to Buehrle.
The net coming off the Marlins' books is $154 million, which does not account for the cash involved in the trade.
Since flopping during the first half of their first season at their new ballpark, the Marlins also have traded former NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Omar Infante, right-hander Anibal Sanchez and closer Heath Bell, the team's high profile bust who was traded to Arizona in October.
The decision to off-load players comes less than a year after the Marlins spent $191 million to obtain Reyes, Buehrle and Bell. Historically, the Marlins have been known as a thrifty team, something the management promised would change with the new ballpark. They've also been known to not include no-trade clauses in their contracts, which facilitated the trades.
Despite the acquisitions and new venue, the team finished last place in the NL East, their worst record since 1999. Attendance was lackluster in 2012, with revenue falling short of projections. Only 2.2 million fans showed up, instead of the expected 3 million.
In comparison, Toronto went 73 and 89 last season and finished fourth in the AL East for the fourth straight year.
The Marlins have been criticized for jettisoning veterans after moving into a ballpark largely funded by public money.
"I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard," Selig said. "Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park. Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of."