From Comcast SportsNetMIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Marlins' spending spree a year ago didn't work, so now they're trying another payroll purge, shedding some of their biggest stars and their multimillion-dollar salaries in one blockbuster deal.Rebranded in a new ballpark at the start of 2012, the Marlins were up to their old ways Tuesday, swapping high-priced talent for top prospects. Miami traded All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and ace right-hander Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the agreement said.The person confirmed the trade to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams weren't officially commenting. The person said the trade sent several of the Blue Jays' best young players to Miami.The stunning agreement came less than a year after the Marlins added Reyes, Buehrle and closer Heath Bell in an uncharacteristic 191 million spending binge as they moved into a new ballpark. The acquisitions raised high hopes, but the Marlins instead finished last in the NL East.The latest paring of salary actually began in July, when the Marlins parted with former NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Omar Infante and right-hander Anibal Sanchez, among others. Bell, the team's high-profile bust, was traded to Arizona last month.Under owner Jeffrey Loria, long the target of fan acrimony, the Marlins have usually been among baseball's thriftiest teams. Management pledged that would change with the new ballpark, but team officials were disappointed with attendance in 2012, and revenue fell far short of their projections.Even so, the blockbuster deal came as a shock. The players involved must undergo physicals before the trade becomes final.Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' precocious slugger, wasn't involved in the deal but wasn't happy about it.Stanton said he was mad about the trade "Plain & Simple," he tweeted shortly after the news broke.The housecleaning was also the subject of much mirth on Twitter."Good trade, I think we won it," tweeted FakeSamson, a site that mocks Marlins president David Samson.Toronto star Jose Bautista had a different interpretation."Its a good day to be a bluejay!" he tweeted.The swap was easier for the Marlins to swing because of their longstanding policy of refusing to include no-trade clauses in contracts.The deal gave an immediate boost to the Blue Jays, who have not reached the playoffs since winning their second consecutive World Series in 1993. Toronto went 73-89 this season and finished fourth in the AL East for the fourth straight year, again falling short in a division that includes big spenders.The Marlins changed their name a year ago but failed to change their losing ways, and instead of contending for a playoff berth, they finished 69-93, their worst record since 1999.The Marlins drew more than 2.2 million fans but had projected attendance of nearly 3 million. Team officials blamed the difference in part on manager Ozzie Guillen's laudatory comments early in the year about former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which antagonized a large segment of an already-small fan base.Guillen was fired after only one season with the team and replaced this month by the Marlins' former backup catcher, Mike Redmond.President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest hinted at a big change in direction less than two weeks ago."We've kind of lost our Marlins way," he said. "The real Marlins way was we always outperformed our challenges. Whatever our challenges were, whether it was playing in a football stadium or weather or a lack of fans, or lack of revenue for that matter, we always found a way to outperform our challenges."It now appears management will field a team with the expectation players will outperform their contracts, which was the franchise model for most of the past decade. The roster shake-up during the season reduced the payroll to 90.3 million from 112 million on opening day, and it now could be dramatically lower next season.Reyes has 96 million left on a deal that expires in 2018. Buehrle has 52 million remaining on a deal that expires in 2015.While the team was a disappointment, newcomers Buehrle and Reyes played up to expectations. Buehrle went 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA and topped 200 innings for the 12th year in a row. Reyes hit .287 with 40 steals in 160 games.Johnson, who led the NL in ERA in 2010, went 8-14 this year with a 3.81 ERA. He was limited to nine starts in 2011 because of right shoulder inflammation.In their 20 seasons the Marlins have reached the postseason only twice, as wild-card teams in 1997 and 2003. Both times they won the World Series.
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FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.
Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased.
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On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve.
Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.
"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."
The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes.
Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).
Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.
"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.
"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."
They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.