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November 14. 2012 10:44PM

Fisher Cats involved in blockbuster Marlins trade


Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Henderson Alvarez, a former Fisher Cat, is among the players headed to Miami in a blockbuster trade. (John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE)

MIAMI - Although it still is awaiting approval by Major League Baseball before it can be made official, a 12-player blockbuster trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays - a deal that includes three ex-New Hampshire Fisher Cats - didn't take long to create shock waves throughout the country via Twitter on Tuesday night.

"Huh?" a puzzled Ricky Nolasco posted on his official Twitter account shortly after the news broke around 6:15 p.m. that former teammates Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio were being shipped off to Toronto in what essentially is another Marlins fire sale.

"I'm not gonna do whatever (everybody) thinks I'm gonna do and freak out!" Logan Morrison posted on his Twitter account. "Ugh, I need a bath."

The Marlins, who had an Opening Day salary of $112 million in 2012 unloaded $163.75 million in guaranteed contracts to Buck, Buehrle, Johnson and Reyes and avoided having to deal in arbitration with Bonifacio, who earned $2.2 million in 2012, by making Tuesday's trade with Toronto. Right now, the Marlins could spend less than $20 million to field a big-league team in 2013.

What Miami got in return Tuesday is hardly a recognizable crew of names, though New Hampshire Fisher Cats fans have likely seen three of the players involved in the deal. Starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez (9-14, 4.85 ERA, 79 Ks, 54 BBs in 31 starts in for Toronto), shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and minor-league outfielder Jake Marisnick all played for the Fisher Cats over the past two seasons.

The Marlins also acquired: Cuban-born shortstop Yunel Escobar, 30, who hit just .253 with nine homers and 51 RBI in 145 games in 2012; backup catcher Jeff Mathis, who hit .218 with eight homers and 27 RBI in 71 games in 2012; and two more minor-league prospects.

"From a pure baseball standpoint, the Marlins did well with this deal. But this trade has a lot more ripples beyond the makeup of the roster," ESPN's Buster Olney said of the trade on his Twitter account.

Those ripples figure to be created by fans at the ticket office. The Marlins, who finished 69-93 and in last-place for the second year in a row in the National League East, drew 2,219,444 fans to their new $515 million park this season. That ranked 12th out of 16 teams in the National League. But once the team began shipping away the bulk of its infield just before the trade deadline, numbers began to dwindle.

Angry Marlins fans took to Twitter and local radio airwaves to express their disgust with the trade. It's hard to blame them.

The 25-man roster hardly resembles the one the team had for Opening Day back in April. The only players still under club control in 2013 who were there for Opening Day in 2012 are Nolasco (set to make $11.5 million), Morrison ($480,000), All-Star right-fielder Giancarlo Stanton ($480,000), pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs ($1.5 million) and relief pitchers Mike Dunn ($480,000), Ryan Webb (arbitration eligible) and Steve Cishek ($480,000).

Stanton, the team's cornerstone who is under club control through the 2016 season, hardly seemed thrilled by the deal, taking to Twitter to express his anger.

Owner Jeffrey Loria, who turns 72 next week, wasn't around when the Marlins introduced Mike Redmond as the club's new manager at the beginning of the month. But Larry Beinfest, the club's president of baseball operations, made it pretty clear the day Redmond was hired that the Marlins were looking to get back to their frugal ways.

"We talk about getting back to our ways, we've got get back to what we used to do like when we got Cody Ross for a dollar," Beinfest said. "We got Dan Uggla for $50,000. Miguel Olivo. Wes Helms. We found ways to get it done. I'll take some of the blame on that.

"We need to find value. We need to rely on our scouts and our people to help us overcome some of these challenges."

Aside from Stanton in right field, Morrison at first base or left field, catcher Rob Brantly, outfielder Justin Ruggiano and the newly acquired Escobar it's anyone's guess how the Marins plan to fill out the rest of the roster at this point. The starting rotation figures to have some form to it with Nolasco, Nathan Eovaldi, Jacob Turner and the newly acquired Alvarez.

But like everything else with the Marlins, nothing is set in stone.

"Well I'm gonna miss you guys ...," Cishek wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday night.

"Hopefully, our new teammates are as awesome on and off the field as buehrle jj buck boni and Reyes."


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