Five Questions: The Blue Jays-Marlins trade
It's the trade that set the baseball world abuzz, with many Blue Jays fans still wondering how general manager Alex Anthopoulos pulled off the improbable and got three all-stars in a potential blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins this week.
As the proposed mega-deal waits to be approved, CBC Sports provides answers to some lingering questions in the latest Five Questions segment.
1. Why isn't this deal official yet?
It was a 12-player deal, one of the biggest in baseball history. While Toronto fans can't wait to see their new acquisitions in Blue Jays gear, it takes time for every player to take their physicals. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig also has to approve the trade. While there is a small campaign urging him to veto the blockbuster, there is little to dissuade the commissioner from giving this trade his seal of approval.
2. Are the Jays done on the trade front?
Don't expect Anthopoulos to sit back and wait for the start of the season. One big question is at catcher, where the Jays have no fewer than four players — J.P. Arencibia, Travis d'Arnaud, John Buck and Bobby Wilson — at the position. The smart money is on Arencibia finding another team. In just two years as the No. 1 catcher, Arencibia has proven himself as a serviceable backstop with some power at the plate. Other teams know what he can do and he could bring value in return. The Jays are also anxious to see what super-prospect d'Arnaud can do at the major-league level. Buck, who played in Toronto in 2010, gives them security and a veteran pitch-calling presence.
3. Are there any holes left in the starting lineup?
The most glaring needs are at left-field and designated hitter. Rajai Davis was the Jays' regular left-fielder last season and did an admirable job, but his speed is perhaps better utilized off the bench. Edwin Encarnacion, the Jays' regular DH at the start of 2012, could become the starting first baseman after showing his worth on defence with three errors in 66 starts last year. The Jays could keep Adam Lind and platoon the two players at first base, but don't be surprised if Anthopoulos seeks an upgrade.
4. How does the new pitching rotation rank in the American League?
It looks pretty good, especially when compared to the hodge-podge, injury riddled lineup the Jays fielded last season. A five-man rotation that consists of Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, Mark Buehrle and maybe J.A. Happ will rank as one of the strongest pitching staffs in the AL, aside from Tampa Bay. Of course, as Jays fans know all too well, all of this depends on whether their pitchers remain healthy. Johnson is a front-line starter, the type of pitcher the Jays haven't had since Roy Halladay, but he has struggled with injuries the last couple of years. Morrow missed two months last season with an oblique (rib cage) injury and Romero had off-season arthroscopic elbow surgery in October.
5. Who is the key piece for the Jays to this deal?
Ask three people and you will probably get three different answers. But it's hard to make an argument against Jose Reyes. The 29-year-old shortstop is a four-time all-star and gives the Jays their best leadoff hitter since their glory years. He's always a threat on the base paths, averaging more than 40 stolen bases a season, and can hit for average. A career .291 hitter, he won the National League batting title in 2011. Getting on base was a major concern for the Jays last season as evidenced by their .309 on-base percentage, second worst in the American League.