MIAMI — The Miami Marlins’ spending spree a year ago didn’t work, so now they’re trying another payroll purge — shedding their biggest stars and their multimillion-dollar salaries in one blockbuster deal.
Rebranded in a new ballpark at the start of 2012, the Marlins were up to their old ways Tuesday, swapping high-priced talent for top prospects. Miami traded All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and ace right-hander Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the agreement said.
The person confirmed the trade to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams weren’t officially commenting. The person said the trade sent several of the Blue Jays’ best young players to Miami.
The Marlins will reportedly get: shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, outfield prospect Jake Marisnick, right-handed pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Jeff Mathis.
The stunning agreement came less than a year after the Marlins added Reyes, Buehrle and closer Heath Bell in an uncharacteristic $191 million spending binge as they moved into a new ballpark. The acquisitions raised high hopes, but the Marlins instead finished last in the NL East.
The latest paring of salary began in July, when the Marlins parted with former NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Omar Infante and right-hander Anibal Sanchez, among others. Bell, the team’s high-profile bust, was traded to Arizona last month.
The swap was easier for the Marlins to swing because of their longstanding policy of refusing to include no-trade clauses in contracts.
The deal gave an immediate boost to the Blue Jays, who have not reached the playoffs since winning their second consecutive World Series in 1993. Toronto went 73-89 this season and finished fourth in the AL East for the fourth straight year, again falling short in a division that includes big spenders.
While the team was a disappointment, newcomers Buehrle and Reyes played up to expectations. Buehrle went 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA and topped 200 innings for the 12th year in a row. Reyes hit .287 with 40 steals in 160 games.
Johnson, who led the NL in ERA in 2010, went 8-14 this year with a 3.81 ERA.
Johnson, Melvin managers of the year
Davey Johnson of the Washington Nationals, and Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics were chosen as managers of the year after guiding their teams to huge turnaround seasons.
Melvin beat out Baltimore’s Buck Showalter for the AL honor in a close vote by a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel. Under Melvin, the A’s made a 20-game improvement, finished 94-68 and won the AL West.
Johnson was an easy choice for the NL prize after the Nationals posted the best record in the majors and made their first playoff appearance.
Johnson, who turns 70 in January, was honored for the second time. He was tabbed as the AL’s top manager in 1997, hours after he resigned from the Orioles in a feud with owner Peter Angelos.
Melvin also became a two-time winner, having been chosen in 2007 with Arizona.
Phillies sign Frandsen
The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to an $850,000, one-year contract with third baseman Kevin Frandsen. He hit .338 with 10 doubles and 14 RBIs.