The dust has settled, and the trade sending Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and a cadre of young pitching prospects has been made official. The trade may initially go down in as the Tulowitzki-for-Reyes swap, but do not expect Reyes to spend too much time as a member of the Rockies. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports said as much shortly after news of the trade broke.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2015
The Rockies do not need Reyes. What they were really after in the trade was young pitching talent, and they got that in droves. The trio of pitchers they received — Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco — could help finally reverse the steady stream of discarded arms in the Mile High City. Hoffman was the Jays’ 2014 first-round pick, and after sitting out 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, has already reached Double-A. Castro started the season in the big leagues despite being only 20 years old. He’s been in the Toronto system since debuting as a 17-year old, and has a 2.63 ERA in 55 minor league appearances. The Blue Jays tried him out at closer in April, but he has more experience as a starter in the minors. Tinoco signed as a 16-year-old, and has had some growing pains. He has a 4-25 record in 54 games, but is still only 20. Tinoco is still very raw, but can touch the high-90’s with his fastball and has plenty of upside if he can continue to develop his command and build strength.
Reyes was simply included in the deal to allow the Blue Jays to offset the contract of Tulowitzki. There was no cash involved in the deal. The Blue Jays will pay Tulowitzki’s salary, and the Rockies will pay Reyes what he is owed. It is hard to imagine the Rockies really want to be saddled with Reyes’ contract as they begin to rebuild yet again. As Morosi stated, the Rockies have a shortstop prospect in Trevor Story that many are high on. Story has batted .281 this season with 16 home runs across Double and Triple-A. He also has 32 doubles and six triples which add up to a .548 slugging percentage. He’s still got some work to do defensively, with just a .952 fielding percentage since being drafted in 2011.
Story will likely be ready for the Majors by Opening Day next year at the latest. The Rockies also spent their first round pick this year on a shortstop, Brendan Rodgers. Reyes could return another two or three high-level prospects, which the Rockies desperately need, especially in the pitching ranks. The then-Florida Marlins made a similar move in 1998 when they acquired Mike Piazza only to flip him to the New York Mets after only five games in Miami. The Rockies now have only four more days to unload Reyes, and it should not be too hard for them to find a buyer. Perhaps the Mets will get back into the Jose Reyes business after four years off. They certainly have the pitching prospects to make it happen.
The initial headlines will report the Colorado Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki for Jose Reyes, but wait just a few days, and there will likely be a different narrative. Reyes does not fit into the long-term plan in Colorado, but they were forced to accept him in order to get the players they really wanted. The clock is now ticking, and there are just over three days until the trade deadline. That should be enough time for the Rockies to make yet another deal.
Don’t get unpacked just yet, Jose.