The Miami Marlins are sending Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays to reduce their Major League Baseball payroll, the Miami Herald reported, citing a person familiar with the trade who requested anonymity.
In return, the Marlins will receive shortstop Yunel Escobar and infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, the Herald said.
The Marlins also will get pitchers Henderson Alvarez and Justin Nicolino, and outfielder Jake Marisnick, as well as one of three catchers: J.P. Arencibia, Bobby Wilson or Jeff Mathis, the newspaper said, citing Fox Sports.
The trade favored the Blue Jays in the Las Vegas sports books, according to R.J. Bell of Pregame.com. Toronto, previously given a 100-1 chance of winning the 2013 World Series, had its odds improve to 15-1 after talk of the trade surfaced, Bell said in an e-mail.
The Blue Jays 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 American League East for the fourth straight year.
The Marlins would reduce their payroll by $13.75 million for right-handed pitcher Johnson, who was 8-14 last season, $96 million over five years for shortstop Reyes and $52 million over three years for left-handed pitcher Buehrle, who was 13-13 last season, the newspaper reported.
The Marlins signed free agents Reyes, Buehrle and Heath Bell before the 2012 season. They traded Bell to the Arizona Diamondbacks last month.
Despite the infusion of high-priced players last year, the Marlins finished the season 69-93 for last place in the five- team National League East, 29 games behind the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins fired manager Ozzie Guillen on Oct. 23 after their first season in a $515 million retractable-roof stadium. Miami hired former catcher Mike Redmond Nov. 1 to succeed Guillen. Redmond, 41, spent last season with the Blue Jays’ Class-A minor-league affiliate in Dunedin, Florida.
This would be the third time in recent years that the Marlins have sold off high-priced players. Established as an expansion team in 1993, the Marlins won World Series titles in 1997 and 2003, then gutted the payroll each time.
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