The newly-minted Miami Marlins made waves this time last year, using money that had barely reached their hands to splurge on baseball’s free agent market to the tune of nearly $200 million. Now, a little more than a year later, the team is ready to part ways with said talent, sending shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle north of the border for prospects.
For all of the attention that the media bestowed on the Marlins in 2011, those had better be some damn good prospects. Miami put on a hell of a reality show last winter, even teasing at bringing in Albert Pujols. The hype train caused local television stations to throw advertising money Miami’s way in anticipation of what was sure to be a South Beach dynasty.
But, like the promise of real estate in Dubai, Miami’s bubble burst, thanks to a team that underperformed and a fan base with little emotional investment in a team that brought two World Series titles to the city in the past 15 years. And so, like they seem to every five years or so, the Marlins placed a large “EVERYTHING MUST GO” sign in their front yard.
On the other side of the coin, Toronto looks ready for a run in the shaky AL East. They already fielded an explosive offense, and Jose Reyes is only going to bolster that. But the pitching is what should really excite. Johnson has ‘ace’ written all over him and, assuming he stays healthy, will become one of the best starting pitchers in the AL East, behind CC Sabathia and David Price. And Buehrle is everything you’d want in a number three pitcher. Factor in star-in-the-making Brandon Marrow, and Toronto should make a triumphant return to the postseason.