TORONTO- Once again, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos struck another stunning deal. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays acquired SS Troy Tulowitzki and RHP LaTroy Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies for SS Jose Reyes, RHP prospects Miguel Castro, RHP Jeff Hoffman and RHP Jesus Tinoco. This move may have establish as one of the most stunning deals made prior to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline.
While pitching has been the Blue Jays’ top priority leading up to the deadline, Tulowitzki is a major upgrade at shortstop over Reyes. Adding another impact bat to already potent lineup and provides better defence. Anthopoulos bolstered an offence that already leads MLB in runs scored by 72. Reyes continues to be solid with his bat and speed, but struggles to make routine plays at shortstop, making 13 errors. Both have been injury prone, but Tulowitzki is a better fit for the Blue Jays right now and in the future.
The financial impact of this trade impacts the Blue Jays short-term and long-term. In the short-term, Reyes was making $22 million and Tulowitzki is earning $20 million and will receive a $2-million payout for being traded. Hawkins has roughly $900,000 remaining on his $2.25-million salary.
In the long-term, Tulowitzki is under control from 2016-2020 with a team option for 2021. He will make $20 million in each of the 2016-19 seasons. Will make another $14 million in 2020 and has a $15-million option or $4-million buyout in 2021. Reyes is set to make $22 million for 2016-2017 with a club option for 2018 with $4 million buyout.
The one major concern about Tulowitzki is his health. Since joining the Rockies as a full-time major leaguer in 2007, he only averaged just 114 games a season. He dealt with several back injuries, cracked ribs and underwent hip surgery in August 2014. That can be said the same about Reyes, who missed half of the 2013 season with a severe ankle injury, dealt with hamstring problems last season and suffered a cracked rib this season. It will be interesting to see Tulowitzki playing on artificial turf.
By adding the 5-time All Star shortstop, this give the Blue Jays a trio of cornerstone players with Russell Martin, who signed as a free agent through 2019, and Josh Donaldson, who under club control through 2018. It also protect themselves if Jose Bautista and/or Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t sign an extension beyond the 2016 season.
Imagine Donaldson and Tulowitzki at the left side of the infield? That is going to be fun to watch.
The price tag that Anthopoulos paid was very high. Hoffman has the potential to be an ace. Castro can be a elite late-inning reliever and Tinoco proves to be a solid back-end starter. All three young righties have the potential to be solid arms, but to acquire the best all-around shortstop in baseball wasn’t going to come cheap. They gave up a lot of young talent but it was a rare opportunity to acquire one of the league best players.
Even though Tulowitzki helps bolster the Blue Jays’ league-best offence and improve their defense, he doesn’t help their pitching. Look for Anthopoulos to make another move to improve the rotation or bullpen.
The Blue Jays are a much better team with Tulowitzki, and they’re going to continue to get better. Knowing Anthopoulos, he won’t stop in making deals. A.A. the ninja is back and dealing right now.