It took almost a week, but everyone's taken their physicals and the commissioner's office has signed off on the crazypants deal. Deep breath: The Marlins will receive Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino. The Blue Jays get Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck. And just for an extra kick in the balls, Miami will give Toronto $4 million in cash.
Bud Selig released a lengthy statement, which reads in part:
"After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion. It is, of course, up to the Clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.
"I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park. Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their Club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of."
It's not a terrible trade for Miami. It's really not. Their expensive team was poorly constructed, and they chose to blow it up all at once rather than handicap a rebuild with long-term contract. Alvarez or Marisnick may end up being the best player in the deal. They have the money to sign free agents—on their terms, not "we need to get some big names to open a new stadium" terms. Jonah Keri laid out some good arguments in favor of making this move now.
It's not a terrible trade for Miami—in a vacuum. Jeffrey Loria can tell Selig he's "fully committed to building a long-term winning team," but Marlins fans have a decade of history that says otherwise. (Expos fans have nothing but their history.) Loria's buys and sells players like he bought and sold art, and he's never shown any indication a Major League Baseball franchise is anything more than an investment to him. "It is like [they] don't know they are in the emotion business," Dan Le Batard wrote.
Some teams are allowed to rebuild. But assurances aren't enough for Marlins fans, who have seen two apocalyptic sell-offs, just got bilked out of billions for a new stadium no one wanted, heard Loria cry poverty while the team turned a profit, and watched the Marlins pocket millions in revenue sharing while fielding one of the lowest payrolls in the game. So, we ask again—and wonder if Bud Selig asked at all—why should we trust Jeffrey Loria to do what's good for anyone but Jeffrey Loria?