ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Jose Reyes, along with a high-priced chunk of his South Beach teammates, is headed to the Blue Jays, according to a person familiar with the situation, as the Marlins agreed Tuesday to yet another salary dump, this time less than a year after completely overhauling the franchise.
Reyes, pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, infielder / outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck -- with a total of nearly $166 million remaining on their contracts -- now all are Blue Jays, pending the completion of the trade. Toronto reportedly is sending seven players to Miami, a list that included shortstop Yunel Escobar, righthander Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis and at least four prospects.
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When word reached the owners' meetings at the O'Hare Hyatt, the reaction was predictable. "Unbelievable," is how one major-league executive described it. Another could only utter, "Wow."
With commissioner Bud Selig en route, there was little doubt the megadeal would be approved, and as a result, two divisions would be reshuffled in the process.
The most startled of all the players has to be Reyes, who signed a six-year, $106-million contract with Miami last December. Instead, he is now headed to the unfamiliar confines of the Rogers Centre, and will have to play half of his games on artificial turf -- not the most suitable surface for a player with a history of leg problems.
According to a friend, Reyes is on vacation and was "unreachable" with news of the trade, but he is likely to be upset by it.
Miami was supposed to become instant contenders with last winter's makeover. But their refusal to grant no-trade clauses to Reyes, Buehrle and Heath Bell should have been a red flag, and after finishing last in the NL East, the dismantling efforts quickly got under way.
As it turned out, trading Hanley Ramirez in July was only the beginning. Bell was shipped to the Diamondbacks in October. Manager Ozzie Guillen was fired soon after. The hiring of Mike Redmond as Guillen's replacement figured to settle things down to some degree, along with the feel-good naming of Tino Martinez as the hitting coach.
But with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos getting antsy to improve, he found a franchise all too ready to clean house. The Jays, who still don't have a manager after letting John Farrell return to the Red Sox, figure to be a force in the AL East -- if all goes according to plan, something that didn't happen in Miami.