Jose Reyes Rumors

Blue Jays Notes: Reyes, Lyon, Happ

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos introduced Jose Reyes in Toronto yesterday, explaining that players of Reyes’ caliber are difficult to find. “He’s electric,” Anthopoulos said. “High energy, smile on his face, just so many things. This is a rare guy to find. Leadoff, shortstop, energy, makeup — check off every single box.” Here are some more notes on the Blue Jays with Spring Training just a month away…

  • Before the Blue Jays acquired Reyes, they had been “really close” to another trade that would have had a similar impact on their 2013 payroll, Anthopoulos said. They discussed the deal toward the end of October, when option decisions were due.
  • The Blue Jays continue to seek a 25th man to round out their roster. Anthopoulos said last week that the Blue Jays would like to add a right-handed bench player capable of playing multiple infield positions. That said, the Blue Jays could add such a player in Spring Training.
  • Don’t expect another deal in the near future. “We’re not having any dialogue at all with respect to trades,” Anthopoulos said.
  • The Blue Jays could add a player or two on minor league deals and under the right circumstances they could add a player to the 40-man roster.
  • Anthopoulos hopes the rotation provides enough innings that the team doesn’t need to seriously consider an eight-man bullpen. The Blue Jays have a pretty full bullpen, so it doesn’t appear as though free agent right-hander Brandon Lyon will return. “I don’t want to ever close the door on him, since he did a great job for us,” Anthopoulos said.
  • The GM stressed the importance of starting pitching depth and explained that players such as Justin Germano, Brad Lincoln and J.A. Happ provide the club with options.
  • The Blue Jays are a ‘file and trial’ team meaning if they exchange filing numbers with players they go to a hearing. Anthopoulos said he’s “hopeful” and “optimistic” that the Blue Jays could reach deals with their three remaining eligible players by today’s deadline. Emilio Bonifacio, Happ and Josh Thole are Toronto’s eligible players, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows. Assistant GM Jay Sartori is leading the way for the Blue Jays as they negotiate with their players.
  • Though the Blue Jays look like an improved team, Anthopoulos cautioned that many of their American League rivals have also added significant pieces. “You can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “We haven’t even played a game yet. We still have to win a game, and we have to win a lot more than one. The whole division is outstanding.”

Anthopoulos, Reyes Talk 2013 Blue Jays

The Blue Jays didn’t set out to trade for Jose Reyes this winter. Instead, they targeted rotation upgrades to recover from a disappointing 89-loss season. Meanwhile, Reyes expected to remain with the Marlins, even after hype gave way to hopelessness in Miami toward the end of the 2012 campaign. Now, as Spring Training approaches, Reyes is officially Toronto's shortstop and there’s an expectation from both sides that the 2013 season will live up to high preseason expectations.

Jose Reyes - Marlins II (PW)

The Blue Jays look at Reyes as a dynamic shortstop who can help them reach the postseason for the first time in 20 years. His skillset rarely becomes available in the view of general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

“I don’t know that we’re going to see another shortstop like this in Toronto for a long time,” the GM said at Reyes’ introductory press conference at Toronto’s Rogers Centre this afternoon. “I don’t know that we could ever think we’re going to draft someone like this or sign someone like this out of Latin America. This is one of the great players to play the game.”

Reyes sounds equally optimistic about his new team. He thought he'd be staying in Miami despite a 69-93 season that cost manager Ozzie Guillen his job. So earlier in the offseason when he and his wife were vacationing he wasn’t expecting to pick up his phone and learn he’d been traded.

“It surprised me a little bit,” Reyes said, “but after that I said ‘you know what, with what the Blue Jays have it’s all about winning and on the field it’s going to be good,' so I can’t wait.”

Judging by Anthopoulos’ comments, the Blue Jays are also eager to get started. The GM described himself as a longtime admirer of Reyes, citing the 29-year-old's energy and multi-faceted game as reasons for his interest. Plus, Reyes provides Toronto with a traditional leadoff hitter, something that Anthopoulos suggested is becoming increasingly rare in today’s game. It's clear that the GM believes there's a lot to like about Reyes.

“He’s probably one of my favorite players in the league to watch,” Anthopoulos said. “He’s the type of guy you want to watch play. He’s electric. High energy, smile on his face, just so many things. This is a rare guy to find. Leadoff, shortstop, energy, makeup — check off every single box.”

Last offseason, when Reyes hit free agency, the Blue Jays weren’t involved in the bidding for the client of the Legacy Agency. At the time they believed that they had ample shortstop depth in Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria. One year later, Anthopoulos was prepared to trade both Cuban shortstops to Miami in the blockbuster trade that brought Reyes to Toronto. 

“We felt we were pretty deep at shortstop, but we’ve never seen a guy like this,” Anthopoulos said of Reyes. “It’s a rare opportunity to get a player like this and we wanted to make sure we were able to get it done.”

Interestingly, Reyes wasn’t the one the Blue Jays initially targeted. Anthopoulos started talks with the Marlins by asking about Josh Johnson, following up on an inquiry he’d made during the summer of 2012. Talks progressed from there and Toronto ultimately landed Reyes and the remainder of his six-year, $106MM contract. The Marlins faced considerable criticism for moving the contracts of Reyes, Johnson and Mark Buehrle, among others. Yet their former shortstop says trades are part of the game, even when they occur one year into a long-term commitment. Few players get to spend their entire career with one team.

“You have to understand that doesn’t happen sometimes, because this is a business,” Reyes said. “As a player we need to understand that.”

After last year, Reyes understands more than just the business side of baseball. He has seen firsthand that preseason excitement doesn’t necessarily translate into wins on the field. Like this year’s Blue Jays club, last year’s Marlins were tabbed by many as a breakout team. The Marlins never emerged as a postseason threat, and Reyes says he learned from the experience.

“No matter what people say — a lot of people said ‘they’re going to win it all’ — it’s not about what people say.” Reyes said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen here.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Blue Jays, Marlins Complete Blockbuster Trade

Commissioner Bud Selig has approved the blockbuster trade that the Blue Jays and Marlins agreed to last week.  The Blue Jays announced the 12-player trade, which sends Jose ReyesJosh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and cash considerations to Toronto for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafani and Jake Marisnick.

The deal, which calls for the Marlins to send the Blue Jays $4MM, required the approval of the commissioner's office.  The Blue Jays are taking on tens of millions in future payroll obligations, while the Marlins are moving the contracts of Reyes and Buehrle less than one full year after signing them as free agents.

Ultimately the deal "represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs," Selig said in a statement approving the trade.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he didn't end up receiving from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production regressed in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a substantial amount of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto executives ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post.



Cafardo’s Latest: Blockbuster, Cabrera, Pavano, Grilli

In his Sunday Notes column, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says Miguel Cabrera was a worthy MVP winner even if the data supported Mike Trout. Here are Cafardo's rumors…

  • Although criticism is warranted, the Blue JaysMarlins blockbuster was a legitimate baseball trade because Miami received plenty of young, high-end talent in return.
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was never really in the hunt for Jose Reyes, and he has yet to be overwhelmed with an offer for Justin Upton.
  • The Red Sox are more likely to deal Jarrod Saltalamacchia than Ryan Lavarnway in the wake of the David Ross signing, but only if they get a good offer.
  • Both the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are interested in Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians while Boston also has some interest in Stephen Drew.
  • Carl Pavano was given a clean bill of health in September after missing most of the season with a shoulder problem. His agent Dave Pepe has received a few preliminary calls, and Pavano could sign a minor league deal.
  • Most executives love Dan Haren but would not be comfortable offering more than two years given concerns about his back. Most prefer a one-year deal with an option.
  • Eight teams, including the Red Sox, have interest in right-hander Jason Grilli according to his agent Gary Sheffield. They have three offers at the moment but are not in a hurry to sign.
  • The Indians are looking at Kevin Youkilis at first base while the Phillies and Dodgers like him at third. He's a back-burner option for Los Angeles and although Towers made a call, the Diamondbacks likely won't be involved.

Quick Hits: Kuroda, Pagan, Reyes, Buehrle

Here's the latest from around baseball as we head into the weekend…

  • Hiroki Kuroda has told friends that his preference is to pitch in southern California to be near his daughters' grade school, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Saxon speculates this could make the Dodgers and Angels the favorites for Kuroda's services, with the Dodgers having the "presumptive edge" with Kuroda due to their past history.
  • Angel Pagan could sign before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  Pagan's suitors include "many of the same clubs" who are interested in fellow free agent B.J. Upton, a market that includes the Phillies, Braves and Nationals.  The Giants are also in the mix to bring Pagan back to San Francisco.
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Marlins made verbal promises to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle that neither would be traded when Miami was courting the two as free agents last winter.  The promises were made in place of formal no-trade clauses, which the Marlins don't hand out as a matter of club policy.  Reyes and Buehrle, of course, were traded to the Blue Jays on Tuesday as part of the big 12-player deal that has yet to be officially confirmed by the league.
  • Right-hander Ramon Ramirez will no longer be represented by the ACES agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Ramirez is the latest of several players to recently switch from ACES, which may be due to MLB's ongoing investigation of the agency for its alleged role in the Melky Cabrera fake website scandal, though the players' union cleared ACES earlier this month.
  • Dodgers president Stan Kasten discussed such topics as his plans for the club's minor league system, his career history and MLB labor issues with Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels talked with Michael Moye (Josh Hamilton's agent) earlier this week, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, though it seems as if both sides were just checking in on the other.
  • The Blue Jays have generated the most headlines of any team this offseason, but FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi notes some of the holes the Jays still have to fill.

Marlins Notes: Samson, Nolasco, Boras, D’Backs

The baseball world is still reacting to Tuesday's stunning trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays, and here's the latest batch of news out of south Florida…

  • Team president David Samson discussed the trade, management's reasoning behind the move and how the Marlins are reacting to the negative publicity in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard on 790 AM Radio (Steven Cuce of SportsRadioInterviews.com has a partial transcript).
  • Also from the interview (passed on by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post), Samson said that Ricky Nolasco won't be traded this winter and will be a Marlin in 2013 unless "the phone rings and something crazy happens."
  • The Marlins' team policy of not giving no-trade clauses has kept Scott Boras from directing his clients to Miami for the last 16 years, Boras tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  "I've never had a franchise player there because it was just not something my client wanted to risk," Boras said. "They (Marlins executives) were always upfront about it. They told me, 'We don't do no-trade clauses.' But it's very difficult to sell an expectancy to a player knowing that it might last for only one year."
  • The Marlins talked to the Diamondbacks about Jose Reyes before eventually including Reyes in the Toronto deal, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  The D'Backs are known to be looking for help at third base and shortstop, despite acquiring Cliff Pennington earlier this month.  We heard yesterday that Miami had also discussed Reyes with the Red Sox prior to the big trade.

Red Sox Links: Ross, Reyes, Nolasco, Morrison

Here's the latest out of Boston…


Blue Jays To Acquire Johnson, Reyes, Buehrle From Marlins

The Blue Jays have reached agreement on a deal with the Marlins that will send right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to Toronto for shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, outfielder Jake Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.  The deal, which will also call for the Marlins to send $4MM to the Blue Jays, is awaiting MLB approval.

The shocking trade effectively means that the Marlins are hitting the reset button on a team which had a payroll in the range of $100MM on Opening Day last season.  The Marlins brought out the checkbook last winter to draw fans to their brand new stadium, signing Reyes to a six-year, $106MM deal and Buehrle to a four-year, $58MM deal.  Neither player had a no-trade clause as per club policy.  Miami now has roughly $16MM in non-arbitration commitments heading into 2013.

Meanwhile, the blockbuster deal could make the Blue Jays a serious threat in the AL East.   Johnson, the first player first known to be involved in the deal, turned in a solid 2012 season after missing the bulk of 2011 with inflammation in his right shoulder.  The 28-year-old wasn't as quite as sharp as he was in 2009 and '10 but still posted a 3.81 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he obviously didn't receive from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production came back to earth in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a boatload of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto brass ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

The trade was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports with additional details coming from ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, and Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.


NL East Links: Dickey, Nationals, Contracts

It was on this day in 1997 that the state of Florida got its first taste of the Fall Classic, as the Marlins hosted Game One of the 1997 World Series.  The Marlins got off to a winning start, scoring a 7-4 victory over the Indians and eventally capturing their first title after seven dramatic games.  Here's the latest from around the NL East…

  • "[R.A. Dickey's] situation does not compare to any in baseball history," writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, noting Dickey's late-career success, the historical precedent of knuckleballers pitching well past age 40 and the price of high-quality pitching.  Dickey, 38, underwent minor surgery today to correct a torn abdominal muscle, a procedure that won't factor into the Mets' decision about signing Dickey to a multiyear contract.  The Mets hold a $5MM club option on Dickey for 2013, but DiComo thinks that if an extension can't be reached, the Mets could think it better to trade Dickey rather than pick up the option and see him potentially leave after the season.
  • Adam LaRoche's free agency creates some questions surrounding the Nationals' first base and left field situation, writes Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.  The Nats could let LaRoche go and install Tyler Moore in left or at first, or they could re-sign LaRoche and either keep Moore on the bench or possibly use Michael Morse as trade bait. 
  • Carlos Beltran, his agent Dan Lozano and the Giants have been arguing over how much contact the Giants had with Beltran last winter, a dispute that Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog argues "speaks to the disconnect in language between reality, reporting and how sports fans form opinions about what goes on in the free agent and trade market."  Cerrone uses last offseason's negotiations between the Marlins, Mets and Jose Reyes as an example.

Quick Hits: Mets, Reyes, Cardinals, Escobar

If you're among MLBTR's 202,000 Twitter followers then thanks for following. If you aren’t yet following, we’d recommend it. But you don't have to take our word for it. Sports Illustrated named @mlbtraderumors one of the 100 essential Twitter accounts for those seeking “news, information and entertainment from the sports world.” Here are today’s links…

  • MLB is nearing agreements with FOX and Turner Sports on new eight-year broadcasting contracts according to the AP (via ESPN). Revenue from the two networks is likely to double to $800MM annually.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig isn’t worried about the Mets, Newsday's Marc Carig reports (Twitterlinks). "I don't consider the Mets a problem in any way, shape or manner,” Selig said. “They're on the right track." Selig went on to express confidence in the Wilpon family and general manager Sandy Alderson.
  • The Mets should be open to trading Ike Davis this winter, especially if they can fill multiple holes by sending the first baseman to another team, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. The Mets have too many needs to rule out possible deals involving Davis.
  • The first year of Jose Reyes’ deal with Miami would have to be called a success, Davidoff writes. The Marlins shortstop leads the team with 147 games played despite previous concerns about his durability.
  • One well-connected person estimates the Cardinals are worth $1.5 billion, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers recently sold for a record $2 billion in a positive development for other MLB owners.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Greg Brady and Jim Lang on Sportsnet 590 the FAN that Yunel Escobar’s decision to write a homophobic slur on his eye black was “stupid, selfish, shameful, insensitive.” Anthopoulos acknowledged that he thought about suspending Escobar for a year or releasing him (hat tip to John Lott of the National Post).

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.