Mark Buehrle Rumors

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.


Olney On Rodriguez, Blue Jays, Ausmus

Everyone’s talking about Alex Rodriguez these days, but some of the chatter out there can be misleading. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney works his way through some popular theories involving the slumping Yankees slugger, separating myth from reality. Here are Olney’s latest notes…

  • The Yankees will probably talk to the Marlins about a deal involving Rodriguez “just to get rid of an outdated superstar,” Olney writes. Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell could end up going from Miami to New York if the sides complete a trade. The Yankees and Marlins have had preliminary talks about a possible deal.
  • Olney suggests it’d be a clear sign that the Blue Jays don’t view John Farrell as their manager of the future if they’re willing to discuss sending him to the Red Sox. If the Blue Jays aren’t convinced Farrell is their man, they should complete a deal without haggling too much, Olney writes. The Red Sox have begun compensation talks with Toronto, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported yesterday.
  • Brad Ausmus, a candidate for the managerial opening in Boston, did well in his interview, Olney reports.

Loria On Front Office, Guillen, Third Base

The Marlins occupy last place in the NL East with a 63-79 record after entering the season with as much hype as any team in recent memory. It’s been a disappointing year, but owner Jeffrey Loria says he expects his team to contend again in 2013, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Here are more notes from Loria (via Spencer):

  • Loria declined to discuss any potential changes to his front office staff. He also refused to offer a public assessment of manager Ozzie Guillen. “I just don’t want to get drawn into that until the end of the season,” Loria said. “There’s good and bad with every situation.”
  • Loria acknowledged that the team has holes. “We need to fill them to complement some of the other really good parts that are here,” he added. The Marlins will likely consider upgrades at third base this offseason, Spencer writes.
  • Loria said he’s been thrilled with Jose Reyes’ performance and impressed by Mark Buehrle’s approach. He also mentioned infielder Donovan Solano and outfielder Justin Ruggiano as “pleasant surprises” in an otherwise trying season.


Dodgers Seek Starting Pitcher

TUESDAY: The Dodgers continue to work hard to add a starting pitcher, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Olney points out that the Dodgers are willing to take on major salaries and suggests Mark Buehrle could be a possibility.

MONDAY: Eight of the 25 players on the Dodgers’ active roster have been acquired in trades since the end of July and they may not be done dealing yet. The Dodgers are looking for another starting pitcher, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). However, they aren’t close to any trades and don't expect to be able to acquire an impact starter.

The Dodgers have already traded for two starters since the waiver trade period began in August: Joe Blanton and Josh Beckett. Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano round out the rotation for the Dodgers, who can only trade for MLB pitchers who have placed on waivers. To this point no available starting pitchers are known to have cleared waivers (Joe Saunders cleared, but was traded over the weekend).

GM Ned Colletti must complete a deal by Friday for an acquisition to be eligible for postseason play. The Dodgers could trade for a starter in September, but he would not be eligible for the postseason should the Dodgers qualify.


Olney On Buehrle, Reyes, Red Sox

The Marlins expected about 25 percent more fans than they’ve drawn this year, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. The Marlins are averaging 28,406 fans per game, an improvement of more than 10,000 people per game that amounts to the largest increase in the game since last year. Here are more notes from Olney, starting in Miami…

  • Marlins president David Samson has said the team isn’t making financially motivated trades, but Olney suggests Miami will have to manage its money carefully to field a competitive team. This could include shedding the contracts of the team's best-paid players.
  • The Marlins will likely look to dump the contracts of players like Jose Reyes at some point in the coming years, and they won’t be offered much in return. The salaries of players like Reyes and Mark Buehrle are back-loaded and will soon spike, which will reduce interest from rival clubs. Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson and Heath Bell are among the other Marlins who have significant money remaining on their current contracts.
  • Olney points out that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has as much opportunity as any manager to shape his team. Valentine shouldn’t have accepted the job if he wanted more control than he’s getting, Olney writes.

NL East Notes: Phils, Victorino, Braves, Reyes, Buehrle

Here's the latest out of the NL East…

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com) that his plan is to keep his team's rotation intact, though plans can change.  The Phillies have a "lot of balls in [the] air trade-wise."
  • The Phillies are listening to offers for Shane Victorino though they haven't yet indicated that they're willing to move him, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.  The Dodgers, Giants, Pirates and Reds are among the teams interested in the center fielder.
  • The Braves are still looking to upgrade their rotation, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  The Braves have shown interest in Edinson Volquez and James Shields, though Bowman notes that a less-pricey pitching option like Rays right-hander Wade Davis could fit Atlanta's needs.  Multiple teams have asked about Davis, though he's pitched out of the bullpen all season and wouldn't be able to immediately help a team looking for a starter.
  • Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen told reporters (including Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post) that despite the Marlins' struggles, they don't regret coming to Miami.
  • The Mets are focused on acquiring players who can help the team beyond just the 2012 season, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.  Both Rubin's source and manager Terry Collins didn't think any deals were imminent before the deadline.
  • Scott Hairston told Rubin that the Mets haven't approached him about a contract extension.  A team insider tells Rubin that "Nothing I know of was accomplished" when the Tigers and Mets recently discussed a Hairston trade.

NL East Notes: Reyes, Bonifacio, Murphy

The Marlins appear to have set an extremely high asking price for Josh Johnson, Jon Heyman reported today. Here’s the latest on the Marlins and their NL East rivals…


NL East Notes: Nationals, Buehrle

The Phillies are eager to trade Hunter Pence, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported today. Here are some more notes from the NL East with exactly one week remaining before the July 31st trade deadline…

  • The Nationals' primary concern is improving their middle infield depth, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. The Nationals could make a move very soon now that Ian Desmond might miss a month with a strained oblique. The team has discussed 15-20 players in the Marco Scutaro, Jamey Carroll, Nick Punto mold, Kilgore reports.
  • The Nationals aren’t looking for a starting position player and they aren’t offering much for starting pitching, Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). It seems unlikely that GM Mike Rizzo will trade for a premium pitcher like Zack Greinke or Matt Garza.
  • One GM told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the Marlins are expected to listen on any player not named Giancarlo Stanton or Jose Reyes. However, the Marlins would likely have to be overwhelmed to trade Mark Buehrle.
  • The Mets announced that they have signed reliever Craig Hansen to a minor league contract (via Twitter). Hansen was a first-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2005.

Quick Hits: Greinke, Hunter, Ruggiano, Marlins

Here's the latest from around the league as Wednesday turns into Thursday…

  • There doesn't appear to have been much contract dialogue between the Brewers and Zack Greinke, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. As of today, there is no evidence that a formal offer has been made even though we heard last week that the team was prepared to make one.
  • Torii Hunter told Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times that he's willing to take a big paycut to return to the Angels next season. Hunter is in the final year of his five-year, $90MM deal. If things don't work out with the Halos, the outfielder said he would consider playing for the Yankees, Rangers, or Dodgers. Retirement would be an option as well.
  • The Marlins have no intention of trading Justin Ruggiano, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). The 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .368/.440/.705 in 111 plate appearances for Miami this season.
  • Frisaro also notes (on Twitter) that the Marlins are not dangling Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, or Mark Buehrle. Yesterday we heard that the team could become sellers if they don't turn things around in the coming weeks.
  • The Yankees, Tigers, and Royals were all on hand to watch Wandy Rodriguez get knocked around by the Padres this afternoon according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The left-hander remains available before the trade deadline.

Quick Hits: Kubel, Chapman, Aoki, Cuddyer

On this day last year, the Padres traded Brandon Gomes, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, and Cole Figueroa to the Rays for Jason Bartlett and a player to be named later (though Tampa would eventually send cash instead). Here's some notes from around the league…

  • The Reds have had conversations with Jason Kubel, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter).  GM Walt Jocketty told Fay (Twitter link) that the club does not have the type of money to sign someone to a Josh Willingham-type deal.
  • Even after trading for Mat Latos, Reds GM Walt Jocketty still plans on using Aroldis Chapman as a starter, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnatti Enquirer.  Jocketty did leave room for a change of heart, however, noting that things could change later on.
  • We should soon find out which team won the bidding for Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • ESPN's Keith Law feels that the Rockies overpaid for Michael Cuddyer, who he considers to be a part-time player (ESPN Insider link). In Law's opinion, Colorado is receiving perhaps a one win upgrade over Seth Smith, but paying $7-8MM more than Smith would earn.
  • In that same piece, Law says that he likes the Twins' gamble on Josh Willingham better, but notes that he should be a DH rather than an outfielder and that the contract is still a gamble because Willingham showed signs of decline in 2011.
  • Willingham told MLB.com's Jane Lee that leaving the Athletics wasn't an easy decision, but GM Billy Beane was honest and up front about the fact that he could probably only offer a one-year deal through arbitration.
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel provides some details on the heavily backloaded contracts that Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle received from the Marlins. Bell's vesting option triggers if he finishes 55 games in 2014, or a combined 100 between 2013-14. He and Buehrle both took signing bonuses deferred withiout interest, and all three have contractual obligations to donate to charity each season.
  • Law (via Twitter) prefers Aaron Cunningham to Cory Burns. The Indians acquired Cunningham from the Padres in exchange for Burns yesterday.