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Miami-Toronto trade buzz reaches Owners Meetings

CHICAGO -- The biggest topic of conversation at the quarterly Owners Meetings at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare on Wednesday didn't appear anywhere on the agenda and wasn't formally discussed during any of the committee sessions.

The real buzz was created by the breathtaking trade in which the Marlins reportedly will send Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Blue Jays for a package consisting mostly of prospects.

As the most powerful people in Major League Baseball moved from room to room to conduct their official business, they, for the most part, declined to comment on the deal. But they are baseball fans, too, and their widened eyes, half smiles and occasional asides made it clear that they acknowledged the immensity of the blockbuster.

Commissioner Bud Selig said that the proposed deal, which is said to be pending physicals before being finalized, has not yet been submitted to his office for approval. Beyond that, he said only that he would comment more fully on Thursday when he traditionally reviews the meetings in their entirety.

Even the Yankees, who in the past have been outspoken about making certain that revenue-sharing funds be used to help smaller-market teams remain competitive and who watched as a division rival closed in on acquiring an influx of proven talent, remained publicly unfazed.

"There's a Collective Bargaining Agreement. As far as I understand, everybody is following the rules," said Yankees president Randy Levine. "Teams are allowed to do what they want to do. And from what I read -- I haven't talked to anybody -- both sides think they've improved. That's what it's all about."

The most immediately recognizable name the Marlins are expected to receive in return is shortstop Yunel Escobar. They reportedly also will receive right-hander Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis and four Minor Leaguers: outfielder Jake Marisnick, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, left-hander Justin Nicolino and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. Since the middle of last season, the Marlins have also traded shortstop Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, right-hander Anibal Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante to the Tigers and closer Heath Bell to the D-backs. Those deals have subtracted over $160 million from Miami's payroll through 2018.

Reyes, Buehrle and Bell were the Marlins' headline signings last offseason as they prepared to move into Marlins Park. It was part of a franchise rebranding that included a new name, new uniforms and a new manager in Ozzie Guillen, who has since been let go.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria waved off reporters in the lobby on Wednesday. "Not today, boys," he said. "If you guys haven't figured it out yet, I'm not going to figure it out for you."

Earlier, however, he was slightly more expansive with "We have to get better," he told the website. "We can't finish in last place. We finished in last place. That's unacceptable. We have to take a new course."

This was the second major trade this year in which a team bundled several big names and received mostly younger talent in return. The Red Sox sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers before the Trade Deadline.

Levine said that he hasn't focused on how this could change the American League East balance of power.

"Obviously, [the Blue Jays] got great players, and both teams thought they improved themselves," he said. "We're on the same course. We've won a lot of winters and not won the World Series. So we're on a plan. [General manager Brian Cashman] is trying to execute it, and we'll see what happens."

Asked if he's satisfied with the pace of his team's movement, considering the Blue Jays' moves and the Tigers' signing of free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter, Levine smiled.

"It's not even Thanksgiving yet," he said. "I think we feel good. The tortoise usually wins the race, right?"