Now here’s a blockbuster deal. The Colorado Rockies have traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki along with relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and three minor league pitchers.
When the Rockies were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak in May, the possibility was raised that Tulowitzki could formally ask to be traded. Just over two months later, this has now come to pass. I just didn’t expect that he would end up in Toronto.
Tulowitzki has spent his entire professional career with the Rockies, who drafted him in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft. He made his big league debut in 2006 and was part of the NL pennant winning team that won 22 of its final 23 games in 2007 and has been the organization’s franchise player, having been selected to the NL All-Star Team five of the past six years including this year’s edition. The only knock against Tulo is that he is injury prone. He did miss significant time in both 2012 and 2014. But in 87 games this season, he is hitting .300 with 12 HR and 53 RBI. Tulo’s lifetime batting average is .299. So he’s pretty much playing true to form. Now Tulo joins a lineup that includes Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion. The two-time Gold Glover is also an upgrade at short. Best of all, he is under contract to the Jays through 2020, with a possible extension to 2021. That is if he can stay healthy.
As for LaTroy Hawkins, this will be the 42-year old righty’s 11th and final MLB stop as he plans to retire at season’s end. Hawkins has pitched in the majors since 1995 with the Twins, Cubs, Giants, A’s, Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Angels, Mets and two stints with the Rockies including when they won the NL pennant in 2007. The question is does Hawkins become the Blue Jays’ closer. He did save 23 games for the Rockies in 2014, but has served as the set up man for John Axford this season and has been reasonably effective in this regard. In 24 appearances, Hawkins has gone 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA along with 2 saves, striking out 20 batters in 22 1/3 innings pitched.
While Hawkins might be an improvement over Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna, I think the Jays could do better. They also need a starting pitcher. If Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is prepared to get Tulowitzki, is he also prepared to do a deal with the Cincinnati Reds and get Aroldis Chapman, Mike Leake, and maybe, just maybe, Toronto’s own Joey Votto? After 100 games, the Jays are right at the .500 mark tied for second in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles, seven games back of the New York Yankees. If the Jays are going bold they might as well go all the way.
Meanwhile, the Rockies get a leadoff hitter in Reyes. Like Tulowitzki, he is injury prone and spent time on the DL with a rib injury at the beginning of the season. In 69 games with Toronto in 2015, Reyes has hit a respectable .285 with 4 HR, 34 RBI, and 16 stolen bases. Reyes isn’t the player he was during his hey-day with the Mets when he was stealing 70-80 bases a season and leading the league in triples, but Reyes could make a positive contribution in Denver although they are languishing in the cellar of the NL West. Reyes is under contract to the Rockies through 2017, with a team option for 2018. Although Reyes is only nine months older than Tulowitzki, if you ask me who’d I rather have play short it is Tulo ten times out of ten. As for the trio of Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco, all minor league right-handed pitchers, they go to Denver where the air is light and the home runs are hit into it. The Rockies is where all pitchers with potential go to die. They have my condolences.
Overall, I’d say the Jays got the better of this deal.