The reaction was obvious even before the news broke. Wherever Troy Tulowitzki would land, shockwaves throughout the league would follow.
After years of speculation, the landing spot for the talented shortstop is Toronto. With only a few days remaining before the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline, the Blue Jays acquired both Tulowitzki and aging relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins in a deal that sent Jose Reyes and Minor Leaguers back to Colorado.
Tulowitzki’s resume speaks for itself, as the new Blue Jay is easily one of the best hitting shortstops of his generation. Some may argue that his numbers were inflated in the thin air of Colorado, but the lifetime .299 hitter, averaging 29 home runs per each 162 games played could anchor any lineup without hesitation.
Amazingly enough, the lineup that added the powerful shortstop may have been the one that needed him the least. Already leading the league in runs scored, Toronto goes from dangerous to deadly by adding yet another top bat. Whether he protects Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, or falls somewhere else in the batting order, the Blue Jays made arguably the most potent offense even better.
Tulowitzki’s downfall is, of course, his health. Injury-riddled for years — 2011’s 143 games played is the most in Tulowitzki’s last five full seasons — Tulowitzki’s projections were frequently curbed by his propensity to visit the disabled list. Toronto, therefore, inherits the risk that is Tulowitzki’s durability while shipping out a shortstop with his own reputation for missing games.
Jose Reyes, the newest member of the Colorado Rockies, will swap positions directly with the aforementioned Tulowitzki, and try to fill the shoes of what many consider the best player in Rockies history. Reyes, a perennial All-Star in his own right, will play for his fourth team in five years when he suits up in Colorado later this week.
Like his predecessor in Colorado, Reyes has only broken the 150-game barrier one time in the past five seasons, but is considered one of the best leadoff men in the game, when healthy. His presence may not bump Charlie Blackmon from his role atop the Rockies’ lineup, however, and he will probably slide into the second spot in the batting order, relieving D.J. LeMahieu from his responsibilities in front of the power part of the lineup.
Reyes joining a team with an established hitter and Tulowitzki adding power to power makes this trade one of the oddest Deadline Deals we have seen. Neither team actually needed the piece they acquired, and the fallout from the trade might ultimately be miniscule. If the Blue Jays keep hitting, no one will notice. If the Rockies score more runs, it may not matter.
In the end, the deal gives Troy Tulowitzki a permanent home for the remainder of the year, and allows the rest of the dominos to fall in the coming days leading up to the Trade Deadline.