Adeiny Hechavarria fields a ball during a workout for the Triple-A All-Star Game here in July. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)
The details came pouring in Tuesday night and although nothing was made official, the Toronto Blue Jays apparently pulled off a stunning trade with the Fire-sale Fish, aka the Miami Marlins. Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck are all going from Miami to Toronto, instantly making the Blue Jays a 2013 playoff contender and turning the Fish into chum meat in the NL East. Wow!
Incredible stuff. Nothing like this for the Blue Jays other than the 1990 deal with San Diego that brought them Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter and turned into two World Series titles. And now they have plenty of attractiveness to potential managerial candidates.
On this side of the Peace Bridge, however, there are practical concerns for the Buffalo Bisons. Remember, they just signed a two-year deal with Toronto in September -- and they have now lost two of their top prospect starters from their 2013 lineup and two starting pitchers who could have been here later in the year or certainly by 2014.
Adeiny Hechavarria, who played in the Triple-A All-Star Game here in July, was likely to be the Bisons' starting shortstop to open the '13 season. Jake Marsinick, Toronto's No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America, was likely to move up from Double-A and open the season in the Buffalo outfield. Among others reportedly going to Florida were likely future Bison starting pitchers Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani.
Hechavarria, 23, batted .312 last season at Las Vegas with six homers and 63 RBIs. The Cuban was signed as a free agent in 2009. Marisnick, 21, was Toronto's third-round pick in 2009. He hit .320 with 14 homers and 77 RBIs in 2001 for Class A Lansing but struggled last year after moving up to Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire, combining to post totals of .249-8-50 at the two levels.
Nicolino, 20, was Toronto's second-round pick in 2010 and one of a trio of young prospects who pitched last year at Class A Lansing (Mich.) of the Midwest League. He went 10-4 with a 2.46 earned-run average in 22 starts there, striking out 119 batters and 124 1/3 innings. DeScalfani, 22, went 11-3, 3.37
The Lansing rotation that included Nicolino, DeSclafani and 19-year-olds Aaron Sanchez (8-5, 2.49) and Noah Syndergaard (8-5, 2.60) was considered perhaps the best in the entire minor leagues. On the plus side, Sanchez and Syndergaard are generally thought to be the top two and Toronto did not part with them.
If the Bisons are pondering the March 31 Blue Jays exhibition here that was talked about the day they signed, they should really go for it now. You'd have no problem filling Coca-Cola Field with fans from both sides of the border. As for 2013, the Blue Jays need to get a couple minor-league free agents signed to fill out the Buffalo lineup. Might be easy, given the short distance to Toronto and the fact a lot of guys wouldn't mind being depth options for a contending big-league team.