Missing from Tuesday’s Blue Jays press conference to formally announce the 12-player trade with the Miami Marlins and the hiring of manager John Gibbons were any of the five players Toronto acquired in the deal.
No reason was given for their absence, nor was one really necessary, nevertheless there has been speculation some of the players might be less than thrilled with the idea of playing in Canada.
Following the trade, Johnson’s agent gave a radio interview in which he suggested his client may be flipped in another trade before the season starts, possibly to Texas or New York.
On Tuesday, however, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said Johnson is “excited” to be joining the team and he didn’t rule out the possibility of extending Johnson’s contract beyond the one year and $13 million remaining on his deal.
As for Buehrle, much has been made of the fact he is an ardent dog lover and his pit bull “Slater” is banned in the province of Ontario. On Tuesday, Anthopoulos said he is “working with” Buehrle on the issue.
One ex-Marlin happy to be joining the Blue Jays is catcher John Buck. The 32-year-old is quite familiar with life as a Blue Jay, having played for the team during the 2010 season.
During an appearance Wednesday on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 the Fan, Buck said he’s been busy answering a lot of questions from Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes on what it’s like to play baseball for Canada’s only MLB team.
“As a player, I kind of laugh and chuckle because that was basically me when I first came over my first year,” Buck said, referring to their concerns. “It feels like a lot more than it really is because you’re all of sudden going to a different country, so I reassured them: ‘Look, you’re going to be amazed how easy it is, how awesome it is to play there. You don’t just have a city; you’ve got a whole country.’”
Buck said he is impressed with the amount of support for the Blue Jays in cities such as Seattle and Detroit, a fact he has passed along to a surprised Johnson and Buehrle.
“Telling Mark (Buehrle) and Josh (Johnson) they’re like, ‘Really?’ and I said it’s something to play for the Blue Jays. I wouldn’t have said this beforehand, but now that I got to experience it, it’s a cool experience.”
Blair also asked Buck what he thought of Reyes in their one year playing together in Miami.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, by the end of this year, the city of Toronto and the whole country is going to love him,” he said. “He’s fun to watch, he plays hard.
“The injuries he’s had in the past it’s because he can’t pull back the throttle on the field. He’ll give you everything.”
Buck added Reyes is also one of the best teammates he’s ever had, with the possible exception of another player Toronto acquired from Miami — Emilio Bonafacio.
“As far as in the clubhouse, teammates, I don’t know if I’ve had anybody better.”