The Toronto Blue Jays have become one of the most oddly built franchises in recent memory. Can anyone really think of a team almost exclusively built through trade and basically trades alone. Sure it’s worked out nice with guys like Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie, guy’s happy to run away as fast as possible from former teams or a sense of national pride in Lawrie’s case. The Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos is a two-time lotto winner when it comes to the likes of Jose Batista and Edwin Encarnicon. I think AA himself would chalk those up to more being lucky then good. AA’s also done a fine job identifying misused parts like Brandon Morrow (who was toiling as a middle reliever as a former top 10 pick in Seattle) or Rajai Davis, but know we are starting to see the flip side of trading for others goods. Sergio Santos surely invokes memories of Mike Sirotka, Yunel Escobar was a head case in Atlanta that could not fit in with all the young talent there, had 15 minutes of good behaviour and managed to insult and entire community on his way out the door (which was the only national publicity the Jays had after April). Kelly Johnson was a professional all of last season but he had Sept.30th marked on his calendar by July 31st.

Now adding to his cast of other people’s misfits and cast-off comes five more guys that never had Toronto on their radars. Despite all the huge dollars the Yankees have been able to spend over the last two decades, the fact is they built a core around a few guys (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Petitte, Jorge Posada) that grew up in the minors together got accustomed to winning and losing together. Those guys knew how to pick each other up and how to push each other threw the grind of a 162 game season. That’s why they kept on coming back time and time again because they had a dedication to the team that groomed them and the players they went through hell and back with. With the Jays who knows who wants to be here and who’s just going through the motions of just playing pro ball. Before we start breaking down the his trade let me quickly give you a list of players acquired by trade over the last three seasons. Morrow (SEA), Escobar (ATL), Lawrie (MIL), Davis (OAK), Rasmus (STL), Gose (PHI) Santos (CHI), Linclon (PIT), Happ (HOU), now Reyes, Buehrle, Johnson, Buck and Bonifico (MIA). One thing that cannot be forced is chemistry. Now I’m not saying it’s impossible but the next manager is going to have a hell of a time trying to brew some up. It’s one thing in the minors where all of the players share a common goals more or less, but in the pros it’s a lot more complicated life. So good luck to who ever gonna right this ship.

The Players.

Now the prize jewel of the trade Jose Reyes, at 29 years old his days of 60, 64, 78 and 58 steals are long behind him, and that decline was probably thrown into overdrive moving to the American League, where no pitchers are bunting him over and a guys who’s missed plenty of time over the last couple of seasons with knee problems on the Rogers Centre’s FieldTurf isn’t ideal. For anyone that says he won the batting title two years ago, He only played in 126 games in a contract year and sat out the game on a last place Mets team so he didn’t blow it or get hurt. Best case: Reyes understands all the real money in this deal is in the latter years, stays in great shape for the entirety of the deal and makes the Jays feel obligated to pay him out that 7th year, $22 million he’s gonna be owed. Worst case: He’s pissed he’s not in South Florida (where he expected to be for the next half decade). He’s Uber pissed when his agent who didn’t get him that no-trade clause tells him he’ll owe a reported $8 million more in taxes for the honor to play for Canada’s finest. So after his Dubai vacation (always a telling sign a player had no idea this was coming), he treats this summer like Chipper Jones’s farewell tour. Overweight Reyes plays about 20 games before his knee gives out and gets accustomed to Toronto’s nightlife and world-class restaurants while Reyes counts dollar bills and months on a calendar all on a trainers table.

Then there’s Josh Johnson, Johnson is a big dude at 6’7 250lbs, and that’s a slimmed down to 250! Johnson is in the final year of his four-year $40 million dollar deal which makes him affordable for this year. But for someone you’d describe as horse like if you saw him in public, basically starts 30 games every 3 years. After an excellent rookie year, he had two season’s of 4 and 14 starts. Then in 2009 he threw for a career high 209 innings ( Livan Hernandez can give you 200 innings at 43 with an arm tied behind his back). He was 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA. But only one complete game. A strong 2010 followed going 11-6 with a 2.30 ERA and still only one CG. It’s quiet rare if a 27-year-old with that kind of frame is working with a sub 3.00 ERA and his coaching staff only feel comfortable letting him go the distance one time in a season. Fragile and handle with kid’s gloves is a understatment in a half. He started nine games in ’11 and 31 last season with a disappointing 8-11 with a career high 3.81 ERA. For Jays fans that probably does not provoke memories of Roy Halladay but rather a former Jays/Marlin in A.J. Burnett. Best case: Johnson tough’s it out in a contract year giving T.O. 30 starts going 16-4 dominating a league that barely seen his stuff before. Johnson, Romero and Morrow rival anyone top three in the AL and Jays are serious contenders for the wild card and division. Worst case: Call it the Eric Hinske syndrome, if a player show’s he can last a full season in the majors and puts up half decent numbers you can buy yourself 10 years in baseball. Johnson knows whether he wins the Cy Young or start 11 games someone giving him a multiple year big league deal regardless and that life. Like Cinderella, we’ll all be waiting for the other shoe to drop and Johnson to turn into a pumpkin. If he gets hurt, I think Free Agency goes to the front of his mind and that’s the last you’ll see of him. Remember he never asked to be here.

That bring’s us to Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilo Bonifacio. Buehrle much like Reyes has only his agent to blame for getting him to sign a back loaded deal without a no-trade clause. I guarantee when Mark, Mark’s wife and his agent were sitting in their living room or agents office the minute the words most money, Miami, and four years were out there; his wife put the end to that conversation and booked the family the first flight from O’hare to MIA. Like many American’s Buehrle dreamt of retirement in Florida, it seemed beautiful, NL hitters and facing pitchers. No more Yankees, Tigers and Mike Trouts. Now at 34, being thrown into the division of death. I just hope it’s a quick death, maybe our first player induced torn labrum on himself.

Good Lord John Buck, really John bleeping Buck. forget he batted .192 last year. The Jays have 12 other catchers with a future in this league. Of course, if this is explained as another grooming candidate like the Sal Fasano special, all is forgiven. Bonifacio will end up being the most reliable piece of this trade (if it goes down) and that’s probably not going to be enough to satisfy Toronto’s love affair with this deal. So was it the best $170 Million ever spent? maybe?! It’s hard for me not to look at the beginning of last season with the same hope that Jays fan have now that Marlins had then Gioncarlo Stanton at 23 is everything that Jose Bautista is and more and Hanely seemed like a genuine star before decline and/or disinterest took over. Does this trade truly justifying a team that won 79 games last year into a 12/1 favourite to win the World Series without a manager hired or next seasons version of the ’12 Marlins.

Who’s to Blame.

I think the Miami Marlins pulling off one of the shrewdest two trades in the history of Baseball is business as usual and I guess that’s why people are so mystified by it. Instead of trading of these players one or two players at a time they found teams willing to take on substantial financial burdens (know how they save the owners need to be saved from themselves, well here’s a prime example of how if these moves don’t work out for the Dodgers ans Jays their franchises will be crippled not the Marlins. Nobody forced a gun to anyone head to sign these back loaded deals without no trade clauses (begs to ask the same question did these guys all have the same agent and he’s collecting off these suckers). This is what the Marlins do,the only difference is the Marlins won titles before they blew it all up. going back to 1997, the Carlos Delgado and Pudge Rodriguez deals, til now. Don’t blame them, blame Major League Baseball for not stopping them.

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