(Photo belongs to USA Today Sports.)
When Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous dealt Jose Reyes and three young pitchers to the Colorado Rockies for SS Troy Tulowitzki and RHP LaTroy Hawkins late Monday night, it took fans, teammates, sports analysts and the major league by storm.
Reportedly, Anthopolous had been in talks with Colorado to make this move since the off-season in December and the Jays have locked arguably the best shortstop in baseball until at least 2020.
The price the GM had to pay was a bit large. He had to deal one of the chips in all-star shortstop Jose Reyes, who has played for the Jays for two and a half years when he came from the New York Mets in 2012.
The speedy Reyes has posted a decent .285 season with 36 RBI, four home runs, 16 stolen bases and a .708 OPS over 69 games. In the field, however, he has 13 errors and a fielding percentage of .953, and one of his errors cost a loss to the White Sox earlier in July.
The All-star hasn’t been up to form as of late, and the fielding has been a bit of a concern for the Jays, and I think trading away Reyes will benefit the Jays, as Tulowitzki only has eight errors in 82 games played and a fielding percentage of .982.
While Tulowitzki might not have any stolen bases this season, he is batting .300, has 12 home runs and 53 RBI this season, and an OPS of .808. Tulowitzki is making his Blue Jays debut tonight in the lead-off spot for the rubber match against the Philadelphia Phillies. This also marks the first time in his career batting lead-off.
LaTroy Hawkins made his Jays debut last night in the sixth inning, retiring the side in order. Speaking of retiring, this season will be his last – at 42, he is the oldest active player in the majors, and the Blue Jays is the 11th major league team he will be playing for, over the length of his prolific 21-year-career.
The other players that went to the Rockies were all pitching prospects – Miguel Castro, Jesus Tinoco and what was likely the real dealmaker, the Jays’ 2014 first-round draft pick Jeff Hoffman. As for Reyes, it isn’t even certain that he’ll be wearing a Rockies uniform by Friday – as rumour has it, he might be dealt for something better before the non-waiver trade deadline.
With all of the changes, one has to question why Anthopolous didn’t go after starting pitching. Tulowitzki is great and everything, but he’s an infielder – and won’t be taking the mound. Hopefully Anthopolous can make some more magic happen before Friday and actually get a decent starter. In an article published today on MLB.com by Andrew Simon, it looks like Toronto could be interested in the Tigers’ David Price, the Rangers’ Yovanni Gallardo, and even the Reds’ Mike Leake, among others.
While the Jays fell 3-2 against the last-place Phillies last night, it could be in part because of injuries – where Devon Travis came out with shoulder irritation, and later Jose Bautista came out with a hamstring cramp. Travis doesn’t have any structural damage, which is great news, as he hit a lead-off homer last night and is having a strong rookie season.
The moving around eventually had Russell Martin playing at second base and Dioner Navarro as catcher. In the ninth, Drew Hutchison, a starting pitcher, had to come in to pinch run for Edwin Encarnacion so there could be speed on the bases. Speaking of Encarnacion, it was reported that he is out of tonight’s line-up as he jammed his left middle finger during batting practice and Chris Colabello will be at first base.
In last night’s game, the Phillies’ bullpen was better and held off where relief pitcher Ken Giles received his first save of the season, assuming that role after Jonathan Papelbon was traded to the Washington Nationals. The Jays are playing the worst team in baseball at a bad time, as, even though the Phillies have a .376 win percentage, they are on a five-game winning streak, and have won nine of their last 10 games.
It’s also unfortunate as the Jays have a lot of ground to make in their division, standing eight games back in a formerly close division, but the Yankees have pulled ahead and are now 15 games over .500, absolutely clobbering the Texas Rangers last night 21-5.
For the Jays, despite the very recent setback in injuries, I’m optimistic and the chips seem to be falling in the right places for a playoff run. As of now, it looks like the Blue Jays have gotten the better end of the blockbuster deal, but we truly won’t know for a few years until Hoffman comes up to the big leagues for the Rockies.