November 19th, 2012 is the day that so-called changed the landscape of the AL East. The day that turned a team that was 22 games out of first and 16 games under .500 a season ago into projected 2013 AL East division Champions. One would think that a team that was 22 games out of first must have signed the top 3 free agents available and had a stud prospect coming up in 2013 to have a chance to win the AL East.
What really happen on November 19th, 2012 is that The Toronto Blue Jays trade with the Miami Marlins that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and $4 MM in cash to Toronto for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafani and Jake Marisnick became official. A trade which somehow made The Blue Jays AL East favorites after being 16 games under .500 just a season ago.
So exactly how much did the Jays improve after making this trade? Lets analyze the three main pieces the Blue Jays got in this trade; Buehrle, Reyes and Johnson.
Let's start with Mark Buehrle. Before last year, Buehrle spent his whole career as a White Sox. In his career in the AL, Buehrle pitched to a 161-119 record with a 3.83 ERA. Those are respectable number but misleading. He pitched in the AL Central which has some of the most pitcher friendly ball parks in baseball. Coming to the AL East he will pitch in sandboxes like Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. And let's not forget the homerun haven his home ballpark is. Something else that is a red flag is the fact that in the last 3 years he has pitched to a 5.07 ERA against the AL East in 76 innings. That equates to a number 5 starter which is something they gave up in the trade in Henderson Alvarez. In 2013 Buehrle will win 10-12 games with 200+ inn and a 4.5 ERA.
Next up is probably one of the Key players in this trade, Jose Reyes. Last season the Blue Jays got nothing out of their SS Yunel Escobar. His slash-line was .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances compared to Reyes .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season. Might seem like a legitimate upgrade for the Jays but there is one issue, Reyes had missed 191 games across the previous 3 seasons before last season when he played in 160. Not only is he an injury risk, Reyes is not a team player and will be a cancer in that club house. You can count on Reyes playing less than 110 games and a Slash of .275/.325/.390.
The Only Solid pick up the Jays had in this trade was Josh Johnson. Johnson brings to the Jays a career 3.15 ERA and .602 winning percentage. At 28, Johnson, will be entering the prime of his career and will be the Jays unquestioned Ace for years to come. Johnson had the injury bug in 2011 but in 2012 he came back to pitch 183 inn to go along with a respectable 3.81 ERA. You can expect Johnson to win 13-16 games with a 3.5 ERA and 200+ inn.
Blue Jays 2013 Prediction: 3rd place 86-76
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