Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig signed off Monday on the trade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays that sends stars Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnston to Toronto in exchange for Yunel Escobar and prospects.
The controversial trade, which had some baseball observers fuming because Reyes and Buehrle were signed by the Marlins just one year ago in an attempt to make a World Series run, had to be reviewed by Selig’s office before being completed.
All players involved in the deal must pass physicals in order for the mega-deal to go through.
While Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had been accused of callously dismantling his team, Selig said in a statement that he believes the trade is fair. But the commissioner said it is up to the Marlins to explain to their fans why the move is good for the franchise, which moved into a new stadium in 2012.
"After a thorough examination of this information, 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 in a statement released Monday. “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.”
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Selig said he had been weighing the trade since Tuesday. He said the Marlins expressed to him that they were committed to putting a competitive team on the field in 2013 and beyond, despite the departures of Reyes, Johnson and Buerhle.
"I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park,” the commissioner said. “Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of."
In the proposed blockbuster Marlins-Blue Jays trade, Reyes, Johnson and Buehrle would go to Toronto in exchange for Yunel Escobar, Adeiiny Hechevarria, Henderson Alvarez and elite prospects in the Blue Jays farm system.
Reyes and Buehrle were signed to free agent deals last off-season during an unconventional splurge from Loria as the Marlins moved into their new stadium. The club also signed closer Heath Bell, who flopped in Miami and was traded late last season.
Miami has won two World Series, in 1997 and 2003, but the championship-winning clubs were similarly blown up.
While the club had high hopes for 2012, the Marlins grossly underachieved last season, going 69-93 and finishing in last place in the National League East. Controversial and fiery manager Ozzie Guillen, who was brought on board in 2012, was fired amid the disappointing season.