DUNEDIN, Fla. -- When Jose Reyes signed his $106 million, six-year deal with the Miami Marlins, he expected to be a long-term part of a dramatically rebuilt franchise that, on paper, looked like a World Series contender.
Turns out the prediction wasn't worth the paper the contract was written on.
The Marlins finished last in the NL East and the next month, and Reyes found himself shipped north to Toronto as part of a 12-player blockbuster trade that amounted to a major salary dump.
"I was shocked," Reyes said Friday before his first batting practice in a Blue Jays uniform, "because (Marlins owner) Jeffrey Loria, he always told me he's never going to trade me. He always called my agent and said, 'Tell Jose to get a good place here to live,' and stuff like that."
Reyes had been with the New York Mets for his first eight big league seasons before signing with Miami. Four days before the Marlins sent him packing, Reyes said, he and Loria had dinner together and "he was talking still about, 'Get a nice house in Miami.'
"Then I went on vacation with my wife and two days later I found out I was traded. ... That was crazy. I mean, how can you want me to spend some money in Miami when I have my house in New York and you're going to trade me in two days?"
Reyes said he feels "sorry for the fans there in Miami because they had a great fan base there. To let them down like that, I mean, that's going to be tough for them."
Reyes said he also feels for the players still with the team, mentioning outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
"He's an unbelievable great player. Great guy. Great teammate," Reyes said. "But like I say, it is what it is. I feel sorry for him. But that's the way it is."
Stanton laughed when he heard that.
"He's talking from a personal standpoint and what happened to all of them," Stanton said.
Stanton acknowledged that other players, too, have said they feel sorry for him, "but I'm not one to say, 'Hey everyone feel sorry for me.' What is there to feel sorry for me about? I'm in the big leagues. I play a game for a living."
Reyes said he hasn't spoken to Loria or any of the Marlins executives since the trade -- and he has no desire to.
"Why do I need to talk to them? If they trade me, that means they don't want me there. So I don't need to approach them and say, 'Why'd you trade me?' and stuff like that. ... I don't need to see (Loria) and he don't want to see me, because he traded me."
It took a while for Reyes' shock to dissipate.
"For a couple of weeks I still couldn't believe what was going on," he said. "But by now I'm looking forward to getting on the field with my new team."
Like the 2012 Marlins, the 2013 Blue Jays appear, on paper, ready to challenge for a division title and a trip to the World Series.
"Everything that people say, it sounds good, we've got a good team, stuff like that. But it's about getting on the field," he said.
Reyes said he hopes he can spend the remaining five years on his contract with the Blue Jays. Even so, he said he's not ready to buy a house in Toronto.
NOTES: Single-game tickets for the Blue Jays' April 2 home opener against the Cleveland Indians sold out in less than an hour Friday.