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With one giant trade, Blue Jays become instant contenders

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is the toast of the town in today's Toronto Sun. (Newseum)

It's pretty amazing to think about this one. The Toronto Blue Jays, coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in their history, suddenly became relevant again in the AL East last night. Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle, among others, are coming to Toronto as part of a 12-player deal with the Miami Marlins -- who can't possibly have any fans left.

With two wild-cards, the Jays are instant playoff contenders (they haven't qualified, remember, since Joe Carter's home run cleared the wall in 1993). They'll certainly challenge the Rays in the division as well with the Yankees aging, the Red Sox a mess and the Orioles not possibly living on pixie dust for another season again. Hope John Farrell enjoys life in Boston.

Plenty of doubters in Toronto of GM Alex Anthopoulos have to keep quiet this morning. The Toronto Sun saluted him on its cover this morning (above) and as the cover indicates, veteran Sun columnist Steve Simmons is happy too. As Simmons wrote this morning, "with one stroke of the brush and many phone calls and texts, Anthopoulos has painted a new Blue Jays picture, changed the course of the waffling franchise, brought some optimism to this local land of sporting pessimism."

Hall of Fame writer Bob Elliott has all the details in today's Sun mainbar.  Richard Griffin gives his rundown in the Toronto Star.

Also in the Star, Cathal Kelly says this is Anthopoulos' career right here right now (apologies to Marv Levy. I threw that in). But Damien Cox says it's time to temper the early celebration.

In the Globe and Mail, Jeff Blair says GM AA (what everyone calls him on Twitter) has all kinds of reasons to gloat.

In the National Post, this page has links to stories by both John Lott and Bruce Arthur that say the Blue Jays are now instantly in contention.

You build your farm system to create prospects -- and create prospects to trade. The Blue Jays have done that well here, with four young players going to the Marlins. That's a downer for the Bisons, who certainly would have had two of them in their lineup in 2013. Be sure to double back to my post from last night for the impact on the Herd in this one.

As for the Marlins ... they should just go out of business. The most disgraceful fire sale yet, which says a lot considering what happened in 1998. But you take more than $600 million in public money for a new ballpark and dismantle the team in one year? ONE YEAR? Wow. 

In the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Dave Hyde says it's time to ship Jeffrey Loria out too. 

In the Miami Herald, David Neal says "the joke is on us."

And through all this, the trade isn't even official yet until MLB signs off on the money and the teams sign off on physicals. Stay tuned.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |