A blockbuster trade in 1990 paved the way to a couple of World Series titles for the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans are hoping lightning strikes again in the wake of another major deal.
The Jays and Miami Marlins got together in mid-November and swapped 12 players.
At its bare bones, here’s what happened: The Jays got the wheat; Miami got the chaff.
Blue Jays fans are ecstatic; Miami fans (what few of them are left) are ready to lynch owner Jeffrey Loria, who managed to pry millions of taxpayer dollars out of Florida government officials to build a fancy new stadium that opened in 2012.
Now, instead of a World Series banner flying over the Marlins’ stadium, it seems like a white flag is blowing in the breeze.
Overnight, the Jays became a contender with the acquisition of starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, and shortstop Jose Reyes, a former National League batting champ.
A few weeks later, Canada’s MLB club bolstered its bullpen by acquiring reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A Dickey from the New York Mets.
Toronto got rid of only one regular in the trade with Florida, shortstop Yunel Escobar (the guy who embarrassed the team late last season by writing a homophobic slur, in Spanish, on his eye-black).
The other jettisoned Jays are all promising prospects, but Toronto fans will be quite happy to see them develop into big-league players in Florida if it means Buehrle, Johnson and Reyes lead the Jays to the playoffs.
The trade appeared to be so one-sided that Commissioner Bud Selig said he needed a couple of days to study it before giving approval, calling it a deal that might not be “in the best interests of baseball.”
It’s certainly in the best interests of the Blue Jays and their fans.
Buehrle is an “innings-eater” who pitched a perfect game a couple of years back for the White Sox and was a 13-game winner with Miami in 2012.
Johnson was 8-14 last year after missing most of 2011 with a shoulder injury, but was regarded as one of the game’s best young pitchers in 2009 and 2010, when he went 15-5 and 11-6, winning the NL ERA title in 2010 with a 2.30 mark.
Johnson and Buehrle will join Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow in a suddenly top-notch rotation.
With the likes of Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, free-agent signee Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion banging the ball, it could be an exciting year around Rogers Centre in 2013.
By the way, that trade back in 1990?
Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff were sent packing to San Diego in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.
You might recall Carter hitting a pretty important home run for the Jays in 1993.
Headline at SportsPickle.com: “Miami starting to regret building $634 million stadium for Toronto’s Triple-A team.”
Logan Morrison, Marlins outfielder, in the aftermath of The Trade: “I bet Canadians are feeling a little better about NAFTA tonight . . .”
Todd Behrendt, FoxSports.com: “Dear fans, we have no intention of winning anytime soon. Love, The Marlins. P.S. Thanks for the new stadium!”
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Guan Tianglang, a 14-year-old middle-school student from China, is set to become the youngest player in Masters history next April after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand. And here we thought, when we were 14, that having a paper route was cool.”
R.J. Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Scottie Pippen helped President Obama‘s team win a pickup basketball game on Election Day. Out of habit, Michael Jordan took the credit.”
Ex-Texas football coach Darrell Royal, who died recently at 88, on All-American running back James Saxton: “He could run like small-town gossip.”
This sounds fishy: Blogger Bill Littlejohn, after Mike Trout became the Angels’ first Rookie of the Year since Tim Salmon: “Think their scouts used the same bait?”
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