First off did the Blue Jays really get Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck all in one trade? I’ve seen them all minus John Buck play spring training games in Blue Jays uniforms on TV yet it’s still hard to believe.
Of course there are some differences to how the trade feels now and how it felt when it happened.
Even though most Blue Jays fans including myself are old enough to be able to count at the time of the trade it felt like the Jays were getting most of the Marlins roster.
Yunel Escobar is the only player the Marlins got that we know for sure can be a solid major leaguer and they didn’t even keep him!
It felt like a huge underpayment at the time and it still feels like one especially with new thoughts having crossed my mind. Like the fact that if the Jays didn’t want Jose Reyes and to a much lesser extent Emilio Bonifacio they would have had to give up even less to get Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. The trade probably would have felt a lot smaller without Reyes in it since the Jays would have had to give up less, only have Johnson under contract for 2013 as of right now and that Reyes comes with a long term expensive contract.
When news of the trade was breaking it started off Escobar and Hechavarria for Johnson and Buehrle. That was exciting enough. Exciting enough that I don’t think it even crossed anyone’s mind that the Blue Jays weren’t going to have anyone to play shortstop.
Then it broke that Jose Reyes was coming to Toronto and every Blue Jays fan and baseball fans jaw dropped. If you’ve been watching Reyes in spring training and the World Baseball Classic then chances are you haven’t been able to pick your jaw up from the ground just yet.
Acquiring all these players gave the Blue Jays a big market payroll which Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said would be possible at the right time. The right time just came a lot sooner than most people thought. Some and by some I mean a lot of Blue Jays fans thought there was no such thing as the right time and that Beeston, Alex Anthopoulos and Rogers were full of it (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!). It was surprising and exciting then and it still is now.
Like the Marlins showed there’s more to being a big market team than just a high payroll. One of the reasons it feels weird to call the Jays a big market team right now is we haven’t seen every home game packed but once we do their big marketness (I know it’s not a real word, sue me) will feel real. It’ll also help validate that the Blue Jays have their most exciting team in 20 years.
The trade was also very exciting because you couldn’t help but ask how the Blue Jays would have got pitching without the trade. It’s a question that’s even harder to answer now when you consider all the starting pitchers that found new homes. Ervin Santana was traded before “the trade”, Kyle Lohse cost a draft pick, Jeremy Guthrie signed an expensive contract for Jeremy Guthrie, Greinke is out of the Jays price range, Toronto doesn’t seem like the kind of place Dan Haren would want to sign, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte weren’t going to leave the Yankees, Tommy Hanson and Brandon McCarthy are extremely injury prone, Trevor Bauer and Vance Worley are too inexperienced to know what they’re capable of for a team trying to contend and the Tampa Bay Rays wouldn’t have traded James Shields to a division rival, nor should the Jays have wanted him for the price the Royals paid to get him.
At the time of the trade Blue Jays fans were hopeful the Jays could upgrade their 2nd basemen, get an upgrade over wherever Adam Lind plays and an upgrade at left field and 5th starter. They managed an upgrade in left field and 5th starter but not over Lind and 2nd base but really how much can you ask Alex Anthopoulos to do in one offseason.
Blue Jays fans also couldn’t get that excited when the trade happened because we had to see what the rest of the American League was going to do. It’s safe to say nobody else upgraded their team as much as the Jays, at least on paper.
If you’ve been a Blue Jays fan long enough the weirdest part of the trade is that it single handedly took the Blue Jays from the mediocre team we got way too used to, to a legitimate contender. It’s a feeling that Blue Jays fans could still be getting used to in another four months.