TORONTO -- It took longer than Blue Jays fans probably would have liked, but Toronto's mammoth 12-player trade with the Miami Marlins is finally a done deal.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Monday he would not stand in the way of the trade that sees Toronto acquire all-star shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio from Miami for seven players.
"It is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion," Selig said it a statement. "It is, of course, up to the clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future."
Miami gets infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino, catcher Jeff Mathis and outfielder Jake Marisnick in the deal struck last week. The Marlins also are sending cash to Toronto as part of their payroll purge.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said after a disappointing 2012 -- the club went 73-89 and finished fourth in the American League East -- he wanted to improve the team's starting pitching.
He did so in dramatic fashion, pulling off one of the biggest deals in franchise history that changes the look of the team and immediately puts the Blue Jays in the conversation for the AL East crown.
But with the deal will come increased expectations. Toronto, which has not made the playoffs since the second of back-to-back World Series victories in 1993, acquired combined guaranteed salaries of US$163.75 million through 2018 in the deal, including $96 million due Reyes.
Anthopoulos was expected to address the media on Tuesday morning.
Johnson and Buehrle will immediately improve a starting rotation that already includes Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. Reyes, who should bat leadoff, is a major upgrade over Escobar at shortstop, Bonifacio could fill a hole at second base and Buck, a former Blue Jay, gives the team experience behind the plate.
Toronto didn't have to give up much off the current roster.
Escobar's days with the Blue Jays were already numbered after he wrote an anti-gay slur in Spanish on his eyeblack late in the season. Mathis was a decent backup, while the jury is still out on Alvarez and prospects Hechavarria, DeSclafani, Nicolino and Marisnick.
-- The Canadian Press, with files from The Associated Press
'It is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment...'
-- baseball commissioner Bud Selig