Looking back at how the blockbuster trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins from 2012 almost didn’t happen

By Damon
2 months ago
Where were you when this happened? Do you remember what you were doing?
It’s been over twelve years since the Blue Jays and Marlins pulled off an unprecedented and utterly shocking twelve-player trade that saw Toronto acquire Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck for a package of players and prospects including Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Justin Nicolino.
The deal was first reported on November 13th but wasn’t actually made official until the 19th, almost a full week later. There’s good reason for this, as, besides the fact it was a blockbuster both in terms of names and sheer quantity of players involved, then-commissioner Bud Selig initially nixed the trade because both Josh Johnson and Henderson Alvarez had actually failed their physicals.
In a recent segment on Foul Territory, former Marlins president of baseball operations David Samson went on to share that the trade was in jeopardy of not being approved by Selig, “He had to meet with the Rogers guys to confirm that they were of sound mind and body, to do that deal.”
Samson also went on to mention how the Blue Jays had already leaked the deal to the media before Johnson had failed his physical, and when given the choice by the Marlins to back out of the deal, the Blue Jays still went through with it not wanting to deal with the certain backlash that would ensue had the deal been nixed.

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When you take a step back, however, you realize the impact of that trade wasn’t nearly as substantial as anyone first assumed that it would be. Not even close.
Of the five players the Jays acquired, it was Buehrle who easily had the most impact. Durable, efficient, and reliable innings eater, Buehrle was the stabilizer of an otherwise rocky starting staff for the Blue Jays during the mid-2010s. Who could forget his complete game masterpiece on July 26th, 2013, when Buehrle sliced through the Astros in two hours and 18 minutes so he could catch the tail end of Tim McGraw’s concert that night? He was the epitome of what a pitcher looked like.

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So as we sit here in the middle of February, in the snow and cold that is Toronto, with pitchers and catchers having reported to their respective spring training facilities scattered around Florida and Arizona, it brings me absolute joy to announce baseball season is officially underway.
We’ll see what the 2024 Blue Jays have in store for us, but in the meantime, it was fun to look back at one of the biggest single trades in franchise history (that almost never came to be!). Even if the results didn’t quite match the initial shockwave of it all, it’s important to remember that baseball is better when more of these blockbuster trades take place, not less.


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