28 July 2015

The Blue Jays have pulled off a stunner for Troy Tulowitzki

We are about 72 hours from the non-waiver MLB trading deadline (Friday at 4 pm EDT) but it seems that we have already seen the biggest and most shocking move already with the Blue Jays pulling off a trade for star Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki early this morning. In exchange for Tulowitzki and veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins, Toronto will be sending shortstop Jose Reyes and minor league pitchers Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco to Denver.

For a franchise that is in the mix to get to the postseason for the first time since winning the memorable 1993 World Series, it's a bold move and certainly an intriguing gamble.

When healthy, Tulowitzki is only the best shortstop in baseball. Dismiss his numbers all you want for the home-away splits due to playing half his games at Coors Field, he has shown that his bat is tremendous. That shouldn't change because while Rogers Centre is no Coors Field, it also certainly is not Petco Park either. Tulowitzki will only make the league's best offense even better and he will also bring a notable upgrade defensively over Reyes. Toronto will now have the best left side of any infield in the majors.

Of course, Tulowitzki comes with some risk. He comes with a sizable track record of injuries as he has only cracked 100 games played once since 2011. While the artificial surface of Rogers Centre generally has caused more issues with players with back issues over the years, it still is something to factor in.

Also, while Toronto has the best run differential in baseball, they still need to upgrade what is one of the weaker pitching staffs in the Junior Circuit. That is part of what made this such a stunning move (that, and the relatively penny-pinching ways of Toronto's ownership). However, the organization still has a number of talented young pitchers in the mix should they make another move before Friday's deadline.

What also makes this trade interesting are some tidbits from a must-read Jeff Passan piece on the trade. Ownership always had an agreement with their star shortstop that they would ask for his blessing on a trade but that did not happen here as Tulowitzki only found out when he was pulled from last night against the Cubs. It is likely, although not entirely far-fetched, that Tulowitzki has not seen Toronto as being a desirable destination for a trade but that may be water under the bridge at this point.

Toronto now has boosted their already strong offense and found not just a hired gun for this season but a franchise cornerstone for years to come (he is under contract until 2020). This trading block was a major one for general manager Alex Anthopoulos who has been under fire amid a relatively disappointing tenure and is in the final year of his contract and while he was not expected to stand pat as he has in recent years, pulling off a kind of move such as this one was far from expected. It also be the kind of move that can end this postseason drought, and maybe do more than just that.

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