(Reuters) - The deal between the Blue Jays and Miami Marlins, who unloaded some $160 million in payroll after moving into a new, publicly financed stadium, was approved by Major League Baseball on Monday despite protests from the Florida community.
The 12-player deal, which sent high-priced Miami players including shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to Toronto in exchange for promising young players, was agreed upon last Tuesday but had been under MLB review.
"We've finished in last place the past two years, and that is unacceptable to our fans, to us as an organization, and to me," said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, according to MLB website mlb.com
"We want to get back to our winning ways, and we want a winning baseball team for our fans. It's incumbent on us to make the changes necessary to make us a winner again."
In Miami, the deal set off controversy, upset the fan base and prompted Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado to write a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to closely examine the reasoning for the transaction.
"After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established major leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs," Selig said in a statement.
"(It) does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion."
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Julian Linden)