TORONTO (AP) — Jose Reyes was in a hotel room in the Middle East when he received the surprising news: He had been traded from the downsizing Miami Marlins to the bulking-up Toronto Blue Jays.
"I went to Dubai on vacation with my wife," Reyes said Thursday in his first public comments about the Nov. 19 deal. "One day I got up at 6 in the morning and I see all these text messages saying 'You got traded.' That kind of surprised me a little bit."
Reyes left the New York Mets as a free agent after the 2011 to sign a $106 million, six-year contracts with the Marlins, who boosted their payroll as they prepared to move into a new retractable-roof ballpark in downtown Miami. But after fading from contention en route to a last-place finish, the Marlins sold off their stars.
The move was surprising to Reyes, given a conversation he had just had with owner Jeffrey Loria.
"Five days before I got traded I was with the owner of the Miami Marlins and he said he was never going to trade me," Reyes recalled.
Like his Miami teammates, Reyes didn't have a no-trade provision. Telephone conversations with new teammates and fellow Dominicans Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion soothed any concerns.
"After that I said, 'It's a better opportunity with the Blue Jays,'" Reyes said. "It's all about winning and the team we're going to put on the field is going to be good."
Reyes was dealt with pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and $8.5 million to Toronto for infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, right-handers Henderson Alvarez, and Anthony DeSclafani, left-hander Justin Nicolino and outfielder Jake Marisnick.
"He's the type of guy you want to come and see play, he's electric," Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "This is a rare guy to find. Leadoff, shortstop, energy, makeup, you can check off every single box. I don't know that there's another shortstop like him. I think any GM would love to have him."
Anthopoulos called Reyes "probably my favorite player in the league."
"You can't help but admire what he brings and what he does," Anthopoulos said. "From that standpoint, the opportunity to get him in trade, we jumped at it. We felt we were pretty deep at shortstop but we've never seen a guy like this.