The Sox, according to the source, were working on bringing All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and righthander Josh Johnson, a player the team has long coveted, to Boston. It’s not known what the Sox were offering, but it certainly involved some of their top prospects.
So the Marlins and Jays put together a blockbuster deal that for the moment shocks the AL East. According to multiple reports, the Jays will land Reyes, Johnson, lefthander Mark Buehrle, utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck for shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, outfielder Jason Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis, righthander Henderson Alvarez, lefthander Justin Nicolino, and righthander Anthony DeSclafani.
This move separates the Jays from the Red Sox. And the Yankees and Orioles also must be wondering what hit them.
I find this report both interesting and a little maddening.
Interesting because it kind of smells of "Hey fanbase, don't worry, we're being active too!"
Maddening because it would not represent the kind of move the Red Sox should be interested in. I advocated for trying to acquire Josh Johnson in my offseason plan post, because he seems like the kind of high-upside pitcher the Sox need.
But to have to give up "some of their top prospects" and take on nine figures in contracts...that's just not worth it. Reyes is a speed guy heading into his age 30 season (and if you want to be slanderous, he's from the Dominican Republic, so that age may not be accurate). There's a very good chance he's already had his best season (2011, when he won the batting title in his walk year with the Mets). He doesn't get on base at an exceptional clip, and that average will come down over the years thanks to a slowed batting eye and fewer infield hits. Plus, he's owed $100 million over the next five years in his backloaded deal. And all this is without considering Jose Iglesias or Xander Bogaerts, one of whom should be the future Sox shortstop.
It's not that Reyes is a bad player, he's just not a good value, and he wouldn't push us to World Series contender level.
Does he do that for Toronto? Probably not. But there's one major difference between Boston and Toronto: Boston can land free agents if it wants. Toronto, historically, struggles to sign players in free agent deals. It's not that the Blue Jays don't have money -- they've given out big deals to Carlos Delgado, Jose Bautista, and Vernon Wells in the past. The best they've done on the free agent market have been AJ Burnett and BJ Ryan, both of whom were overpaid and acknowledged as such at the time.
This trade represents Toronto's best attempt to acquire a couple of top-level players, even if one of them (Reyes) may not be top-level for long. They're paying a hefty premium, and they've gotten better in the short term. But it wasn't the right move for the Sox, so don't waste your time being jealous. The right thing for the Sox to do is to be patient, stick with their plan (which Cherington is promising to do), and try to get as much out of their farm system as they can while supplementing with free agency.
Now let's just hope Larry Lucchino doesn't barge into Cherington's office and demand Josh Hamilton.