Ben Cherington’s job just got more difficult.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins on Tuesday evening agreed to a multiple-player trade that would send star shortstop Jose Reyes and pitcher Josh Johnson to Toronto, sources told ESPN. Also going to Toronto would be pitcher Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck and infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
"Just about any (Marlins) player making money is going to Toronto," a source told ESPN.
In return, the payroll-dumping Marlins are receiving Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis and prospects Jake Marisnick (OF), Adeiny Hechavarria (SS), Justin Nicolino (LHP) and Anthony DeSclafani (RHP), sources told ESPN.
Put another way, the Jays are giving up virtually no players who projected to impact the 2013 team and are receiving a handful of All-Stars and solid veterans.
Reyes (six years, $106 million) and Buehrle (four years, $58 million) just signed long-term deals with the Marlins last offseason. Buck has one year remaining at $6 million, Johnson has one year at $13.75 million and Bonifacio is eligible for arbitration after making $2.2 million last year.
Major League Baseball will have to examine the amount of money and contracts changing hands before signing off on the deal.
What does it mean for the Red Sox, who as it was faced an uphill climb out of the AL East basement?
“Wasn’t expecting to see that,” their GM Cherington told reporters at an event at UMass Amherst on Tuesday night.
The GM insisted the Jays’ power play would not affect how the Red Sox approach the offseason. They are still without a starting first baseman, have a slot open in the rotation and potentially two outfield spots to fill.
“We have a plan for the offseason and we’ll see how much of it we can execute,” Cherington told reporters. “If (the Jays’ trade) does happen, it’s not going to change what our plan is or our ability to execute that plan.”
That plan has yet to play out, and though we know the team has plenty of cash to spend (thanks to a similar midseason megadeal) and have learned of Boston’s interest in guys like Torii Hunter (who ended up choosing the Tigers) and Mike Napoli, the GM is keeping his hand close to his chest.
Toronto’s cards, meanwhile, are already on the table.
According to projections from Dan Szymborski of the Baseball Think Factory, Toronto’s additions could move the team’s win total from the low 70s in 2012 to the high 80s or mid-90s next season.
Interestingly, an unnamed source told the Boston Globe that the Red Sox were also in trade talks with the Marlins for some of the same players that ended up going to the Blue Jays.
Your turn: Would you have liked to have seen Cherington make a megadeal with the Marlins similar to what the Blue Jays pulled off? Or would that be just getting themselves into a similar mess from which they just recently extricated themselves in the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford (not to mention their $250 million-plus in future contracts)? Vote in the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments section.