Blue Jays and Rockies Trade-My Take
I’ve shared my thoughts on the Phillies and Rangers trade. Now I take a look at what the Blue Jays have done in their deal with the Rockies.
At the time the deal with the Rockies was announced, I mentioned on the Short Hops podcast that I felt they needed at least one more pitcher. They got him in David Price. He’s not just any pitcher. He’s David Price-a difference maker. More about that in another blog. The deal they made with Colorado is my focus here.
The prospects the Blue Jays sent to Colorado are top shelf in my opinion. And the Blue Jays get a legitimate star. Some say a superstar. I’m not among them. But he’s a star.
THE ROCKIES GET: SS Jose Reyes, P Miguel Castro, P Jeff Hoffman and P Jesus Tinoco.
Reyes should do well offensively at Coors Field. He will contribute to the team’s offense by getting on base and scoring runs. I’m not sure we’ll see much in the way of stolen bases from him. What he won’t bring is the defense he once played. His defensive decline is troublesome. If, in fact, the Rockies are trying to upgrade their pitching, it will be difficult without Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop. The drop off from Tulo to Reyes could be dramatic. That said, I’m not sure Reyes remains with the Rockies. Maybe he’ll be flipped in the off season and find a role with an American League club where he can serve as a DH and play shortstop. Maybe. If I’m the Rockies I listen.
Castro is a 20-year old right-handed pitcher with a cannon for an arm. He is a big man at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds. I think he can stand to add more weight and strength to his frame, and that may happen. He can touch 97 with regularity on his fastball and needs development time to improve his command. He’s walking over 5 per nine innings, but he’s still very, very young and inexperienced. His role will have to be defined by the Rockies, but he can pitch at any point in the game-from start to finish. He throws a sweeping slider from a low arm slot and it’s difficult to pick up the ball in his hand. His third pitch is a changeup that continues to improve. While I won’t classify him as elite, he could become way better than a Major League average pitcher. The Rockies bought upside with Castro. Huge upside. They will have to be patient.
Hoffman may be the real gem of the trade. This guy is 6-foot-4, 185 pounds. He’s right handed and is a former first round Draft pick out of East Carolina University. He throws gas. He has an outstanding fastball and it isn’t unusual for him to hit the very high 90’s.
Unlike lots of other prospect pitchers, Hoffman has command and control that play. He may not be that far off. He throws a wicked slider, curveball and changeup along with the heat. He did, however, have Tommy John surgery and has returned to pitch in Double-A. He misses bats and gets ground ball outs-both crucial components to pitch at Coors.
Tinoco is the one in the group I know the least about. I do know he’s…you guessed it…6-foot-4 and 190 pounds. He’s a right-hander from Venezuela and he’s 20 years-old.
THE BLUE JAYS GET: Troy Tulowitzki and LeTroy Hawkins
Tulowitzki showed his power and value immediately for the Blue Jays as he homered in his first game with his new club. He will thrive in Toronto as he did at Coors. I think he’ll be fine on the road, but we have to wait and see how he adjusts to American League pitchers and American League parks. But consider being a pitcher and having to navigate through Tulowitzki, Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, Colabello, Martin, Pillar, etc. Yikes! Those are some formidable bats. If nothing else, they can pound the opposition into submission.
I am concerned about how the artificial turf will impact Tulowitzki’s legs, back, hips, etc. I’m sure he isn’t too thrilled about playing on that surface.
Without a doubt, Tulowitzki lengthens the power potential of the lineup and adds a tremendous defensive dimension to the team. The price was steep to get him, but how many times does a club get to add an All Star of his caliber to their everyday lineup?
Hawkins is a seasoned veteran on the back end of his career. I hope he can add some value to the Blue Jays pen, which does need a shot in the arm.
When it’s all said and done, this is a trade that could help put the Blue Jays in the playoffs now-especially with the addition of David Price which I’ll discuss in a different blog. But-it also provides the Rockies with a new road map out of the basement. They may be able to see some light in the future. The future being two years from now.
In reality, the Rockies did not win anything with Tulowitzki on the roster. Actually, they haven’t won with Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. It all comes back to pitching. They had to find guys that can blow the opposition away. Hoffman and Castro have that potential. Add them to Butler and Gray and it brings hope. The jet stream and altitude of Coors are significant factors in finding pitching success. It isn’t impossible to pitch there. However, the pitcher either has to keep the ball down in the zone and induce ground balls or strike the hitter out. Get the ball up in the zone and you can kiss it goodbye. And the outfield real estate is so spacious that doubles and triples are as lethal as home runs. So-these new arms change the dynamic in Colorado. At the price of a huge star-Troy Tulowitzki.
This trading deadline breathes life into the Phillies and the Rockies in my opinion. It doesn’t make either contenders. Yet. But it puts them back on the baseball map. Neither team has been in the discussion for years. Now we’ll watch them and talk about them.
While I like the Blue Jays improvement with Tulowitzki, I like the change of direction and new life it gives the Rockies. It’ll be refreshing for them when these guys are mature enough and ready to help. Patience will be a virtue in Colorado. Patience.
Now, add Price in to the equation for the Blue Jays and it changes everything. He and Tulo together put the club on a whole new path. One that leads directly to the playoffs.
I’ll have more to say here at BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD regarding other trades. Especially David Price going to Toronto.
Thanks for reading this. Follow me @BerniePleskoff and for reading my work at MLBPipeline.com.
That’s it. I’m done. For now.