Upon further review, did Blue Jays really win in 2012 blockbuster trade with Marlins?

Three of the major pieces in the massive 2012 trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins: (from left) shortstop Jose Reyes, LHP Mark Buehrle and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

The Toronto Blue Jays are poised to make a major deal, with general manager Alex Anthopoulos telling the Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan that he’s willing to get "creative" in order to upgrade his team’s pitching staff.

For Anthopoulos, creativity has been synonymous with immensity: Since 2000, Major League Baseball has seen only three trades (between two teams) that included 10 or more players. The Blue Jays were involved in them all, with the Cardinals (July 2011), Astros (July 2012) and Marlins (November 2012).

The last of those trades was the most memorable, because of the criticism leveled at Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for stripping down his roster after only one season in a new, publicly-financed stadium.

I said at the time that the Blue Jays had made the right deal for the right reasons, bringing proven veterans to Toronto in an effort to end a prolonged period of mediocrity. Indeed, Mark Buehrle — obtained from the Marlins in that trade — is a major reason why Toronto has a chance to end the majors’ longest active postseason drought (since 1993).

And yet, we must give the Marlins their due. Obvious money-saving motivations aside, the deal was what Loria promised — a good baseball trade for Miami.

We can debate whether aggregate Wins Above Replacement is a fair way to judge a deal, but even the more traditional baseball observer would conclude that — for 2015 — there is at least as much value on the Marlins’ side of the deal, and probably more.

Adeiny Hechavarria is a better and more dynamic shortstop than Jose Reyes, even aside from the fact that he’s much cheaper, and I’d argue that a team would not trade Anthony DeSclafani, Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino for Buehrle today — certainly not based on future salaries and potential value. (We could argue that the Marlins didn’t receive proper value when they traded DeSclafani and Marisnick, but that is a separate discussion.)

Here’s a breakdown showing the WAR of each player in the deal this year, according to FanGraphs.com.

Blue Jays acquired:

Mark Buehrle — 1.3

Jose Reyes — 1.1

Emilio Bonifacio — minus-0.8 (now with White Sox)  

John Buck — N/A (retired)

Josh Johnson — N/A (now with Padres, on disabled list)

NET WAR in 2015: 1.6

Marlins acquired:

Adeiny Hechavarria — 2.2

Anthony DeSclafani — 1.4 (now with Reds)

Yunel Escobar — 1.2 (now with Nationals)

Jake Marisnick — 0.6 (now with Astros)

Henderson Alvarez — 0.1 (on disabled list)

Justin Nicolino — 0.0 (now in minors; debuted with Marlins this year)

Jeff Mathis — minus-0.5

NET WAR in 2015: 5.0

Although Escobar signed an extension with the Rays last year, it should be pointed out that club options on his original multiyear contract would have given the Blue Jays control of him through 2015.

So while the Blue Jays should feel confident in their chances to make the postseason this year — especially if Anthopoulos executes another blockbuster — Loria can justifiably boast that he won the trade that brought him so much scorn. 

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