In a shocking move just after midnight on Tuesday morning, the Colorado Rockies traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays in a five-player deal, as first reported by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The team announced the deal just after 11 a.m. ET.
In exchange for Tulowitzki, the Rockies will get Jose Reyes and three minor leaguers, one of which is righthanded pitcher Miguel Castro. RHP Jeff Hoffman, the No. 9 pick by the Blue Jays in 2014, and RHP Jesus Tinoco are also headed to Colorado. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins is bound for Toronto with Tulowitzki. Jon Heyman reports no cash is involved.
As a result of Tulowitzki's trade, he will receive a $2 million bonus and "his contract converts to include full no-trade clause from here on out," Rosenthal added. Tulowitski had signed a 10-year, $158 million contract extension with the Rockies in 2011 at 26 years old and has five seasons remaining on his contract after this year. That works out to $20 million a season with $14 million in his 2020 year with a club option in 2021 for $15 million and a $4 million buyout.
The five-time MLB All-Star, 10-year veteran had spent his entire career with the Rockies, and all rumors about him being traded had seemed to fizzle. There had been some preliminary interest by the Mets but they came away with the impression the Rockies would not trade him. This season Tulowitzki is batting .300/.348/.471 with 12 home runs -- a somewhat down year by his standards, but he's also been hitting .327/.401/.500 since June 1.
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As for Hawkins, he joins a Blue Jays bullpen that sits in the middle of the pack, with a 3.47 ERA. Hawkins, 42, has 21 years of MLB experience, working strictly as a reliever since 2000. Despite his age, Hawkins has not shown signs of completely wearing down. In the last five years, Hawkins has a 3.11 ERA, averaging 1.9 walks per nine.
This season Hawkins had posted a 3.63 ERA in 22 1/3 innings pitched, striking out 20 batters and allowing just three home runs -- an impressive feat considering he was pitching in Coors Field. If the Blue Jays are to make a run for it, they'll need more than an average 'pen, and Hawkins will bring both stability and leadership.
Like some of his now-former teammates, Tulowitzki has battled injuries off an on in the last couple of years. However, the 30-year-old has remained relatively healthy this year and while he's struggled at the plate at times, he has still performed at a high level. Tulo had been pulled from the Rockies' 9-8 walkoff loss to the Cubs on Monday night, but not much was suspected.
Currently the Blue Jays are in second place in the American League East, but they're seven games behind the Yankees who are on a roll. If they are to contend this postseason, they're going to need an extra boost and Tulowitzki should provide some of that. Add to the Blue Jays' pitching staff, whose starting ERA ranks 13th in the American League, and Toronto can use all the offensive, and dependable relief help it can get.
As for the Rockies, they'll receive Reyes, a 32-year-old shortstop, who, while slightly older than Tulowitzki, isn't quite as pricey. Reyes is a four-time All-Star with 13 years of big league experience, however, his value lies with his bat than with his glove. The Rockies also receive 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Miguel Castro, the Blue Jays' No. 5 prospect, though he didn't make Baseball America's top 50 overall prospects.
While Reyes is batting .285/.322/.385 this year, defensively he has a -8 DRS. That ranks 25th among 26 shortstops with at least 550 innings this year. Only Danny Santana of the Twins is worse, with a -14 DRS. The Rockies may keep Reyes, or eventually find a way to trade him again at some point.
The move appears to be a way for the Rockies to lighten the load, on what was a heavy payroll with Tulowitzki's contract. Jeff Euston of Cot's Contracts notes the Rockies will save about $52 million with the trade. While Reyes isn't cheap, he is at least more affordable. For now. He signed a six-year, $106 million deal on December 2011. He's owed $22 million in 2016 and 2017, with a club option for $22 million in 2018 that includes a $4 million buyout. In all, Reyes will be owed about $55 million when you include the rest of this year.
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