FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Miami Marlins’ front office continued to swing a sledgehammer at their underwhelming 2012 team, agreeing to trade startomg pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder/infielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays, a league source confirmed on Tuesday.
Among the players the Marlins are getting back in what amounts to a massive salary dump: shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, and infielder Adeiny Hechavarria. Outfield prospect Jake Marisnick, right-handed pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Jeff Mathis also are part of the contingent heading to South Florida, a source said.
The transaction doesn’t appear to be sitting well with the club’s cornerstone player; Giancarlo Stanton tweeted his strong displeasure about the move. Stanton is under team control through the 2016 season, but they organization’s wayward direction may ultimately impact his desire to remain long term.
Logan Morrison also chimed in via Twitter, albeit more subtly than usual. He wrote: “I’m not gonna do what (every) body thinks I’m gonna do and freak out! Ugh, I need a bath.”
The Marlins are unloading $163.75 million in guaranteed contracts with Buck, Buehrle, Johnson and Reyes. Bonifacio, who was sidelined much of last season with injuries, is arbitration-eligible. He earned $2.2 million in 2012.
As part of the deal, the Marlins are sending $4 million to the Blue Jays, meaning the Commissioner’s Office must sign off on the trade before it is finalized.
Reyes and Buehrle both signed free-agent contracts with the Marlins as part of a $191 million spending spree last offseason. Reyes is owed $96 million for the next five seasons and Buehrle is signed through 2015 for a total of $48 million.
Heath Bell, the third member of that free agency binge, also is gone after a horrific season. The Marlins gave him a three-year, $27 million contract and earlier this offseason shipped him and $8 million to the Diamondbacks.
The trade certainly has an impact on the Buffalo Bisons, who signed a two-year Player Development Contract with the Blue Jays in September after spending the last four years with the New York Mets.
Hechavarria, who played in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field in July, was likely to be the Bisons’ starting shortstop to open the 2013 season. Marsinick, Toronto’s No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America, was likely to move up from Double-A and open the season in the Buffalo outfield. Nicolino and DeSclafani both would have had an outside shot to get here by the second half of the season, and certainly would have been Bisons in 2014.
Hechavarria, 23, batted .312 last season at Las Vegas with six homers and 63 RBIs. The Cuban was signed as a free agent in 2009.
Marisnick, 21, was Toronto’s third-round pick in 2009. He batted .320 with 14 homers and 77 RBIs in 2001 for Class A Lansing but struggled last year after moving up to Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire, combining to post totals of .249-8-50 at the two levels.
Nicolino, 20, was Toronto’s second-round pick in 2010 and one of a trio of young prospects who pitched last year at Class A Lansing (Mich.) of the Midwest League. He went 10-4 with a 2.46 earned-run average in 22 starts there, striking out 119 batters and 124∑ innings.
DeSclafani, 22, went 11-3, 3.37 for Lansing in his first year of pro ball. He was a sixth-round pick in 2011.
The Lansing rotation that included Nicolino, DeSclafani, and 19-year-olds Aaron Sanchez (8-5, 2.49) and Noah Syndergaard (8-5, 2.60) was considered perhaps the best in the entire minor leagues. A plus for the Bisons is that Sanchez and Syndergaard are widely considered to be the top two of the quartet and Toronto parted with neither of them.
Johnson, Melvin honored
NEW YORK — Davey Johnson of the Washington Nationals and Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics have been chosen as managers of the year.
Johnson easily won the NL honor on Tuesday after the Nationals bolted to the best record in baseball. Melvin was picked narrowly for the AL award over Baltimore’s Buck Showalter in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Johnson, who turns 70 in January, was honored for the second time. He was tabbed as the AL’s top manager in 1997, hours after he resigned from the Orioles in a feud with owner Peter Angelos. Melvin also became a two-time winner, having been chosen in 2007 with Arizona.
Johnson finished well ahead of the field. Dusty Baker of NL Central winner Cincinnati was second and Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants was third.