Marlins send batch of pricey players to Toronto: reports
(Reuters) - A blockbuster baseball trade sending high-salaried players Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Miami Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays was close to completion, numerous local media outlets reported on Tuesday.
Final details of the trade were not yet available as neither team was offering official comment, while the official Major League Baseball website mlb.com said baseball officials were still poring over terms of the deal.
The trade, first reported by FOX Sports, would shed some $160 million from Miami's payroll commitments.
Also said to be included were former Blue Jays catcher John Buck heading back to Toronto along with second baseman-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
Players that would be going to Miami from Toronto included shortstop Ynel Escobar, promising Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, starter Henderson Alvarez and back-up catcher Jeff Mathis, along with minor league pitchers Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani, and minor-league outfielder Jake Marisnick.
Johnson said he was informed he had been traded.
"I enjoyed my time in Florida," the 28-year-old, two-time All-Star told MLB.com. "Thank you, fans, for everything. You always supported me, and I appreciate that."
The blockbuster trade comes a year after the Marlins opened a new retractable-roof stadium, changed their name and uniform and rebuilt their roster with major additions to produce a makeover splash.
Miami signed Reyes, Buehrle and reliever Heath Bell for a combined $191 million, but high hopes were dashed by a disappointing season in the standings and in the stands.
The Marlins finished last in the NL East with a 69-93 record and drew just over 2.2 million people in their first year at Marlins Park, the smallest first-year attendance for a new ballpark in 11 years.
Bell, who struggled in 2012, was traded to Arizona in October and manager Ozzie Guillen, who signed a four-year, $10 million contract, was fired last month.
While the teams were silent about the trade, some players spoke up on the micro-blogging social network Twitter.
Marlins slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton said on Twitter: "Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple."
His new prospective team mate, left-hander Nicolino, a Florida native who turns 21 later this month, tweeted: "Just wanna say thank you to the blue jays organizations.
"Now it's a new chapter! Looking forward to being a part of the Miami Marlins!"
Toronto Blue Jays power-hitter Jose Bautista said: "It's a good day to be a bluejay!"
The deal would mark the third major sell-off by the Marlins since 1998, when then-owner Wayne Huizenga traded eight players after they won the 1997 World Series over the Cleveland Indians.
The Marlins re-tooled their roster once again in 2005, two years after winning the 2003 World Series over the New York Yankees.
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Greg Stutchbury)