“Holy crap! Well that’s different … “
I think we all shared the same reaction among hearing the news that the Rockies and Blue Jays were swapping their studs at SS. But now that some of the shock is out of our systems, there’s a lot to break down here.
First of all, this was an NBA-type trade that we almost never see in baseball. Two stars that play the same position dealt for each other (with other smaller pieces involved that I’ll get to) is exciting. Although we rarely, if ever, see it happen, this is good for MLB. It creates excitement, a lot of which is generated by us in the fantasy community.
Looking at this from the teams’ perspectives for a moment, the Rockies made this trade with an eye towards the future. Trading a franchise player is never a fun thing to do, but COL got a pretty strong return in three ways.
1. It saves them money. None of you may care (until they spend it on another player), but the deal saves the Rockies roughly $52 million in terms of current guaranteed money.
2. Colorado acquired three solid pitching prospects — Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco. Pitching is a huge need for the Rockies, so if one of more of them develop into a reliable starter in the future, that’s a huge plus.
3. And here’s what makes this trade unique — Colorado now has Reyes, a clear downgrade from Tulo, but definitely a valuable player. This keeps them flexible, which is always extremely important. It’s rumored that Carlos Gonzalez will be on his way out of town by Friday as well, if that’s the case, Reyes could be repackaged to a team looking for SS help. Now Colorado would have the prospects they acquire from a Car-Go deal and a Reyes deal on top of the three pitchers they already got. The other option is to stand pat. The Rockies have a good offense, and will continue to with Reyes replacing Tulo. Just try and add some pitching in the offseason, and this could still work out given a fresh slate. Again, flexibility is key, and this team has it.
Now if you’re the Blue Jays, the thought process is simple. Hope Tulowitzki works out, while also adding LaTroy Hawkins to a bullpen that is much in need of some veteran leadership. This deal keeps the Blue Jays flexible as well, but there is one big concern, though (that I’ll save for later).
The goal is for Tulo to step right into a Toronto offense that’s scored 72 more runs than any other team in baseball, and contributes as he has been this season in Colorado. Let that sink in, 72 more runs than any team in baseball (TOR has 528 while NYY has 456). But there’s chatter out there that the Jays could even try to flip their new SS for a pitcher, something critics feel they so desperately need.
Taking a step back for a moment, imagine if both Reyes and Tulo were moved again by the deadline? THAT’S why this deal is just so crazy.
If I’m Toronto, however, I’m keeping Tulowitzki without any doubt. The object of the game is to score more runs than your opponent. You do this in any way you can. That doesn’t mean it has to be done with great pitching.
They’ve got something special going on up there when it comes to their lineup, and that hurts opposing pitchers much more than gaining a starter is going to help their defense at this point. It’s one sided, but there’s more than one game plan to win. This game plan just so happens to be extremely exciting for DFS players.
Earlier, I mentioned a big concern for Toronto, though. What’s the most important stat in sports (whether it be fantasy or actual sports)? Games played — something Tulowitzki has struggled with in recent seasons.
He’s had his health this season, playing in 87 games to date, but Tulo played just 91 games last season, 126 in 2013 and just 47 in 2012. Not a good trend, but maybe this is his year. Reyes has a history of injuries himself, so that may have factored in to Toronto’s willingness to look past the issue.
Either way, assuming they keep their health (and neither is traded again), the deal has improved both player’s fantasy values for the remainder of the season. Reyes gets a little extra pop in his bat playing in Coors Field, while Tulo enters the heart of MLB’s most dangerous lineup.
Hopefully MLB front offices take note and look for more trades like this one. It’s going to be fun to watch.
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