The Blue Jays sent their own shortstop, Jose Reyes, acquired just 2 ½ years ago in a previous stab at American League East significance, to the Rockies in a deal that was expected to include minor leaguers going to Colorado. The Rockies, who packaged veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins in the deal, could flip Reyes to a contending team in the coming hours or weeks. If they choose to keep him, they would be saving about $50 million with the Tulowitzki trade.
Fox Sports was first to report the move.
The Blue Jays were expected to seek pitching at the deadline, as their offense is the best in the major leagues and their pitching is in the bottom third, which accounts for their seven-game deficit in the American League East. Still four days remain before the trading deadline, and the Blue Jays’ focus undoubtedly will be on a starting rotation that carries a 4.38 ERA.
Their acquisition of Tulowitzki, then, was a surprise. Not only are the Blue Jays already loaded offensively, but the Rockies in recent years seemed resistant to trading Tulowitzki, in spite of rumors otherwise. The Blue Jays could use their offensive inventory to acquire pitching – they’ve been linked to Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and others – or could be planning to slug their way back into the AL East race.
Tulowitzki is under contract through 2021 and due at least another $108 million, including a $2 million bonus for being traded.
Reyes is due $22 million per year through 2017, with an option for 2018 for another $22 million.
Specifics of the trade were hazy late Monday night. The Rockies were believed to be receiving minor leaguers in the deal, as well. CBS Sports reported 20-year-old right-hander Miguel Castro would be included. Castro, a reliever, opened the season with the Blue Jays and had a 4.38 ERA and four saves in 13 games.
A five-time All-Star, including this season, Tulowitzki, 30, is an elite talent who has played more than 126 games in a season only once since 2009. He is a career .299 hitter with a .372 on-base percentage and .886 OPS. While some of those numbers were inflated by Coors Field, Tulowitzki is a big, strong shortstop whose game would play anywhere.
He is, however, injury prone, and the artificial turf at Rogers Centre could prove harder on Tulowitzki than Coors Field’s thin air.
Tulowitzki joins a lineup already thick with Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Chris Colabello, and that leads the AL in runs and OPS, and is second to the Houston Astros in home runs.