Jose Reyes Rumors

NL Notes: Reyes, Duda, Young, Pirates

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes would welcome a trade to a winning team, writes Nick Groke of the Denver Post“You come from a ballclub that was competing for a spot in the playoffs,” said Reyes. “And you come to a club in last place. You think about that.” Reyes said to Groke that winning is his top priority, particularly a this stage of his career. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my career on a last-place team,” he continued. Reyes wasn’t necessarily asking out of Colorado, adding, “We’ll see what happens here,” but he added that he doesn’t want to spend multiple years waiting on a rebuild, either.

Here’s more from the Senior Circuit…

  • Lucas Duda‘s troublesome back — a lumbar strain, to be specific — forced him to exit Friday’s game early, and Saturday the Mets placed the first baseman on the disabled list, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes. The Mets are hopeful that Duda will only be sidelined for the minimum 15 days, which would mean he’d return to the club in early September. Duda will have a consultation with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins next week. Michael Cuddyer got the start at first base last night.
  • The Mets are considering trade acquisition Eric Young Jr. as a September call-up, DiComo writes in a second piece. New York immediately optioned Young to the minors upon acquiring him, but a lack of speed and base-stealing threats on the current active roster make him a strong candidate for a September appearance. Manager Terry Collins seemed to be in favor of the idea as well. “It’s a dimension we don’t have,” said Collins, in reference to Young’s speed. “It would be very important for us to have a guy like that.”
  • The offseason additions of Francisco Cervelli and Jung Ho Kang have fueled what will likely be a third straight playoff berth for the Pirates, writes Joe Lemire in a column for USA Today. GM Neal Huntington tells Lemire that Kang has exceeded the organization’s expectations in terms of how well he’s adapted to the U.S. culture. Lemire also spoke to Huntington about Cervelli, and the GM said that his team was aggressive in is pursuit of the former Yankees catcher due to his defensive prowess. Cervelli talked with Lemire about how he improved defensively with the Yankees as well as his passion for painting and cooking, which he uses as stress relievers and refers to as “good therapy in the offseason.”

Jose Reyes Clears Waivers

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes has cleared waivers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, making him eligible to be traded to any team. Heyman hears that “at least a couple of teams” have been “poking around” regarding Reyes, but the Rockies aren’t necessarily shopping him around.

There’s been at least some contact with the Yankees about a possible Reyes matchup, Heyman reports, though it’s not known how serious their interest is. Didi Gregorius has been outstanding for much of the summer, hitting .290/.329/.383 dating back to June 1 to go along with his strong defensive work. Reyes could be viewed as a second base option by the Yankees, who have received little from their primary option at the position, Stephen Drew.

Reyes, 32, was hitting reasonably well at the time of the stunner that sent him and three pitching prospects from Toronto to Denver in exchange for Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins, but he’s struggled greatly in his new environs. Reyes is hitting just .216/.241/.275 with the Rox — a sharp decline from the .285/.322/.385 he was slashing with the Blue Jays. From a defensive standpoint, Reyes has declined over the past two seasons, so it’s possible that some clubs would think of him more as a second base option than a shortstop anyhow. (Although, getting off the turf in Toronto could revitalize his legs and back to some extent.)

Given the substantial financial commitment still remaining on Reyes contract, it’s unsurprising to see him go unclaimed. He’s still owed about $6.37MM of this year’s $22MM salary, and he’ll earn $22MM in both 2016 and 2017, plus a $4MM buyout of a $22MM option for the 2018 season. All told, that’s about $54.37MM owed to Reyes through the 2017 season.

For what it’s worth, Heyman hears that while Reyes spoke highly of the Mets this weekend and seems to be amenable to a return to New York City, the Mets did not show any interest in reacquiring him following his move to Colorado.

Reyes becomes the third known player to have cleared revocable waivers. We’ll be keeping an update-to-date list of players that have cleared waivers, and you can always find a link to that list on the MLBTR Features sidebar on the right-hand side of the desktop version of MLBTR. (Mobile users may want to bookmark the post for easy reference.)


Mets Links: Harvey, Cuddyer, Plawecki

The Mets shut out the Rockies last night by a 4-0 score, while the Nationals got shut out themselves, dropping a 5-0 result to Zack Greinke and the Dodgers.  Thanks to that pair of blankings, the Mets now hold a 2.5-game lead over Washington for first place in the NL East.  Here’s the latest from Citi Field…

  • Matt Harvey‘s eight shutout innings fueled Tuesday’s victory, though now that the ace righty has 148 IP for the season, his innings limit is beginning to loom large.  The Mets have frequently stated that Harvey will be capped at around 185-190 innings this season, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013.  “I will tell you this: We are going to do everything in our power to keep from shutting this guy down — any of those guys down,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, told reporters, including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.  “He’s on pace to get to his [limit] fast….If we get into September to where we’ve got to have the game Matt Harvey pitches, he’s going to pitch it. But that’s why we’ve got to make sure he’s OK to do that.”  The Mets will revisit a six-man rotation once Steven Matz returns from the DL in September.
  • Michael Cuddyer has gone from key offseason acquisition to only a part-time player, Newsday’s David Lennon writes, as the Mets are committed to giving Michael Conforto regular at-bats.  Cuddyer’s season-long struggles at the plate and his recent DL stint have opened the door for Conforto to take playing time, at least against right-handed pitching.
  • The Mets optioned catcher Kevin Plawecki to Triple-A, calling up Anthony Recker in a corresponding move.  Now that Travis d’Arnaud is fully healthy, Plawecki is going back to the minors to receive everyday playing time until the rosters expand on September 1.  As ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin calculates, Plawecki should amass 147 days of Major League service time for 2015 (his rookie season).  Assuming Plawecki is back on the roster in 2016 and beyond, he could receive an extra year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player in two seasons’ time, given how two years and 147 days is beyond any of the last seven Super Two cutoffs.
  • Jose Reyes tells Tim Rohan of the New York Times that he would like to eventually return to the Mets to wind up his career.  “I’d love to — not now, because I have two more years on my deal. But I’d love to finish my career here in New York. I have some great memories here,” Reyes said.  The Rockies shortstop makes his offseason home in Long Island.


Players Who Have Cleared Revocable Waivers

MLBTR will continue to update this post as players reportedly clear revocable trade waivers, making it a running list of players that may be traded to any club in the season’s final two months. Player names are linked to the source articles, and this article can always be found under the MLBTR Features portion of the sidebar on the right side of the page.

First, several notes are in order. For one, many players have and will clear waivers without public reports revealing that status. (Some of them have already been traded, such as Mike Napoli.) Remember, also, that players must be acquired by August 31 to be eligible for their new team’s postseason roster. Click here for a further explanation of the August waiver and trade rules. And bear in mind that a player’s no-trade rights remain effective even if he clears waivers.

Last Updated: 8/29/2015

  • Aaron Harang, Phillies — The Phillies will have trouble dealing Harang due to lousy production. He has a 7.09 ERA since the All Star break. He has about $1MM left on his $5MM contract. He’ll be a free agent after the season. If anybody acquires him, it will be as a September spot starter.
  • Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox — The Red Sox are already planning to experiment with Ramirez at first base. Presumably, the hope is that he’ll be healthier and more productive at the cold corner. His .249/.291/.426 line is a sharp disappointment, especially after a hot April. Since May 20, he’s hitting a painful .236/.275/.378. An August trade seems highly unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out entirely. The financial component may be the most difficult aspect to solve. He’s owed the balance of $19MM this season plus $22MM in each of the next three seasons. He also has a $22MM vesting option for 2019.
  • Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox — Like Ramirez, Sandoval has left fans wanting more in his first season with the Red Sox. He’s hitting a career worst .254/.304/.387, but he has shown some signs of life. Over his last 12 games, he’s slashing .265/.308/.469. The Red Sox have responded by bumping him to second in the lineup. He’s also looked more agile in the field. Several playoff contenders could upgrade at third base with a healthy Sandoval. However, it will be difficult to work around what’s left of his five-year, $95MM contract.
  • Starlin CastroCubs — Moved off of shortstop and still owed $38MM after the end of 2015, Castro is a risk. But at just 25 years of age, and possessing good offensive skills for an up-the-middle defender, plenty of teams would be interested in giving him a shot. A deal still seems rather unlikely over the last three days of August, though Castro could find himself heading elsewhere over the winter.
  • Austin JacksonMariners — Jackson was once a cornerstone-type center fielder, but he’s seen his productivity fall off quite a bit over the last two seasons. Now 28 and set to hit the market after the year, Jackson has about $1.725MM left on his contract (as of August 24th) and no longer looks like a starting-caliber acquisition for a contender, though he also isn’t a clear platoon option since he’s always posted neutral splits. On the positive side, Jackson is still capable of playing center and has some pop and speed.
  • Jonny GomesBraves — Gomes is a limited but useful player. The 34-year-old is a prototypical high-character clubhouse guy, and mashes lefties. Though his pop is well off recent levels this year, Gomes has had no trouble reaching base against opposing southpaws, and is playing on a relatively manageable $4MM salary this year. Plus, he comes with a $3MM club option for 2016. (The option vests at 325 plate appearances, but that seems unlikely for a part-time player.)
  • Dexter Fowler, Cubs — It’s somewhat surprising that the 29-year-old Fowler, who was owed $2.49MM through season’s end as of Aug. 18, would clear waivers. However, rival clubs probably assume that the Cubs have little intention of trading a regular, solid contributor in the midst of a playoff race. Fowler will be a free agent at season’s end and seems unlikely to change teams this month.
  • Addison Reed, Diamondbacks — Still just 26, Reed’s star has faded considerably since a trade to the Diamondbacks. This year, he’s lost the closer’s role and been optioned to Triple-A, though he’s been sharp since his return to the Majors. In the first 10 innings following his recall, Reed yielded just one run on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. But, he’s owed $1.33MM through season’s end (as of Aug. 17) and still has a an unsightly 4.46 ERA on the year as a whole.
  • David Aardsma, Braves — Through Aug. 17, Aardsma has a respectable 3.95 ERA and has averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. However, he’s also averaging 4.6 walks per nine and is generating grounders at less than a 30 percent clip. He’s affordable, as he signed a minor league contract with the Braves earlier in the year after opting out of a contract with the Dodgers.
  • Edward Mujica, Athletics — Mujica’s already been designated for assignment once (by the Red Sox) this season, and a trade to Oakland’s spacious park didn’t improve his numbers. In fact, he’s pitched worse with the A’s. Through Aug. 17, Mujica had yielded a ghastly .309/.336/.525 batting line to opposing hitters.
  • Fernando Rodney, Mariners — Rodney’s earning $7MM in 2015 and is having one of the worst seasons of his career. His strikeout and walk rates have both gone in the wrong direction, and while he’s still averaging a very healthy 94.9 mph on his heater, he’s sporting a disastrous 1.44 HR/9 rate as of Aug. 17.
  • John Axford, Rockies — Axford allowed only one run through his first 19 innings this season, but in the subsequent 19 2/3 innings, he melted down and allowed 19 runs on 29 hits and 15 walks. Some of his struggles are tied to Coors Field, but his poor control will be a factor regardless of what park he calls his home.
  • Jose Reyes, Rockies — The 32-year-old Reyes has struggled offensively since being dealt to the Rockies and has seen his defensive work take a hit over the past couple of seasons as well. He was still a very serviceable bat while playing with Toronto, though, and a departure from the artificial turf at the Rogers Centre could benefit his legs and back, perhaps even restoring some of his speed and range. Some have speculated on a potential move to second base for the former All-Star, who is owed about $54.37MM through the end of the 2017 season (as of Aug. 14).
  • Chase UtleyPhillies — Utley, 36, has produced at well below his typical rate for much of the year and just ended an extended DL stint. But he’s a highly-respected veteran, and the ankle issue could explain his struggles. Indeed, Utley has looked more like himself since returning to action. He’s owed about $4.5MM the rest of the way (as of Aug. 11), but the absence means that he won’t be a threat to trigger a vesting option for next year. For teams looking to bolster their options at second base down the stretch, Utley will surely hold appeal.
  • James Shields, Padres — The veteran hurler is in the first season of a four-year pact, making him an atypical trade candidate, but San Diego’s struggles and desire to clear payroll could see him dangled. There’s only about $2MM left to pay in 2015 (as of Aug. 11), but the deal is backloaded: it comes with $65MM in future guarantees (including the buyout on a $16MM option for 2019). The contract does have an opt-out after next season. Shields is already 33, and hasn’t been quite as good this season as in years past, but he’s still a durable and reliable arm who could help a lot of clubs.

Heyman’s Latest: Padres/Reds, Gausman, Cubs, Rox, Cespedes, Marlins

In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provides a laundry list of free agent and trade-related info. He kicks off the piece with a lengthy look at the curiously passive approaches of two teams that were seen as likely to be active sellers: the Reds and Padres. San Diego GM A.J. Preller told Heyman that his team discussed a number of deals and felt that, ultimately, the long-term nature of most of the Padres’ trade chips outweighed the value they were offered. The one notable exception is Justin Upton, who, as first reported by Buster Olney, could’ve fetched Michael Fulmer from the Mets. Regarding Upton talks, Preller told Heyman: “…the evaluation was what we’re being offered versus the value of the pick and having Justin for the rest of the year. There were offers right on the line, but none that made us move.” As for the Reds, Heyman notes that many are questioning the team’s decision to hang onto Aroldis Chapman, who is controlled through 2016, when the Reds may not be competitive until 2017. The Reds backed out of a Jay Bruce-for-Zack Wheeler swap, a source tells Heyman, with a second source telling him that Cincinnati simply “got cold feet” when it came to dealing Bruce. He also spoke to a number of executives who expressed disbelief that neither team was more active at the deadline.

Some more highlights from his column, though there’s far more in the full article than can be summarized here, so it’s worth reading in its entirety…

  • The Diamondbacks are still seeking an elite closer after coming up empty in their pursuit of Aroldis Chapman, and they might pursue him again this winter. Heyman lists their priorities as: a closer, a starting pitcher (someone below the tier of Johnny Cueto/David Price) and a bat to slot behind Paul Goldschmidt in the order. The Snakes talked about deals for Jeremy Hellickson, Oliver Perez and Cliff Pennington. They came the closest to trading Hellickson, who drew interest from the Pirates and Blue Jays, he adds.
  • Kevin Gausman‘s name was very popular in trade talks with the Orioles, as he was asked for by the Rockies (in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez), the Tigers (Yoenis Cespedes) and Padres (Justin Upton). The Orioles also talked to the Dodgers about Carl Crawford (for a lesser package) but found his injury history and contract too risky.
  • Others are “convinced” that the Cubs will land one of the top starting pitchers on the market this winter, with Price as a leading candidate but Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Cueto all landing on Chicago’s radar as well. The Cubs are expected to shop both Starlin Castro and Javier Baez this winter. The Padres‘ interest in Baez has been reported many places, though they do have some reservations about Baez’s approach at the plate (as, I would imagine, most teams do).
  • The Blue Jays, Astros and Giants all expressed interest in White Sox righty Jeff Samardzija, but the White Sox‘ winning streak plus so-so offers led the team to hold onto the right-hander. Heyman hears that the return would’ve been similar to the one the Reds ultimately got in exchange for Mike Leake, so the Sox simply held onto Samardzija. (Speaking of Leake, he adds that industry consensus pegs Leake as the most likely rental to stay with his new club — perhaps not surprising given Leake’s ties to California and the Giants’ history of retaining such pieces.)
  • The Indians received interest not only in Carlos Carrasco, but also in Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. The Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox all tried for Carrasco.
  • The Rockies were always more motivated to trade Troy Tulowitzki than Carlos Gonzalez, as the drama surrounding Tulo had become soap-opera-esque. The team didn’t shop Jose Reyes after the Tulo deal but did have his name come up in talks; Heyman writes that the Yankees are one club that “may have fit,” as they could’ve used him at second base.
  • The Angels made a brief run at Yoenis Cespedes but didn’t come close to landing him. Cespedes won the hearts of Mets fans in part by expressing an interest in signing long-term to remain in Queens, but as Heyman notes, Cespedes did the same in Boston and Detroit without any results. A long-term pact between the Mets and Cespedes is more likely than a reunion with the Tigers though, Heyman writes, as Detroit isn’t likely to enter a bidding war for the outfielder, let alone win one.
  • The Dodgers showed more interest in Cole Hamels than they did in either Price or Cueto. They were completely closed off to the idea of trading either Corey Seager or Julio Urias, though. He adds that right-hander Jose DeLeon wasn’t available in talks for rental pieces, which could imply that he was at least attainable in Hamels talks.
  • Dan Jennings is expected to be welcomed back to the Marlins‘ front office this winter, when the team will search for a long-term manager to replace him. The Marlins are also planning on trying to extend Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria this offseason, he hears. Talks for Hechavarria went nowhere last winter, and the shortstop’s batting line is nearly identical to its 2014 mark. Defensive metrics are far more impressed with Hechavarria’s work this season, though, for what it’s worth.
  • While Rays relief aces Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger were oft-mentioned in rumors leading up to the deadline, other teams came away with the impression that Tampa Bay wasn’t that interested in moving either.
  • There’s an “unhappy scene” surrounding the Nationals and manager Matt Williams, Heyman hears. Williams isn’t beloved by many of the team’s players, who feel that he’s “not loose” and “never relaxed.” There are those who have also questioned his bullpen usage, from the decision not to use Drew Storen/Tyler Clippard in the final game of last year’s NLDS to leaving both Jonathan Papelbon and Storen in the bullpen in close road games versus the Mets shortly after acquiring Papelbon (only to have both pitch with a five-run deficit in the next series). Heyman spoke to one Nats player who said the team is loose and has fun regardless of Williams’ demeanor. “I don’t think it affects us,” said the player. “That’s just how he is.”

Zwelling, Keri Examine Blue Jays’ Active Deadline

In a pair of excellent columns, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet and Jonah Keri of Grantland offer behind-the-scenes looks at the chaotic week of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the trade deadline. Each spoke directly to Anthopoulos, and while Keri’s piece focuses on blockbuster deals for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, Zwelling’s looks at each day of Anthopoulos’ week leading up to the deadline (including those trades and other discussions) — painting a vivid picture of the life of a general manager during one of the most chaotic times of the year.

Some highlights from each piece, although I’d highly recommend reading each in its entirety…

  • Both Zwelling and Keri note that talks between the Blue Jays and Rockies date back to the offseason, but the initial concept of Jose Reyes and pitching prospects for Tulowitzki surfaced in late May. Anthopoulos, Zwelling writes, had been unwilling to part with Jeff Hoffman until the day that Tulowitzki was traded. When Hoffman’s name was put on the table, talks with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich accelerated quickly. Zwelling’s piece also provides a glimpse into the difficult task of Anthopoulos informing Reyes that he’d been traded.
  • Meanwhile, Anthopoulos told Keri that the decision to add Tulowitzki did have its detractors within the Toronto front office. “They brought up the length of his contract, the dollars on his contract, the players we’d have to give up,” said Anthopoulos. However, his take on the situation varied. “Players like that don’t become available,” said the Toronto GM. “They sign 10-year contracts and become the face of a franchise. It wasn’t an easy decision. It was weird, the process was long and stressful … but it was also a lot of fun.”
  • Zwelling writes that Anthopoulos was in negotiation for players such as Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra and Mike Leake as well, but an eventual phone call from Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski caused him to shift his focus to Price. Dombrowski had told Anthopoulos a week before the trade deadline that he’d call him if he decided to move Price, and despite the fact that Anthopoulos saw constant rumors about Price’s availability, his respect for Dombrowski prevented him from calling to check in. “His guarantee that he’d call me was all I needed,” said Anthopoulos. “Dave’s a complete pro. No matter what was being said in the media, I was going to take his word for it. When and if the time presented itself, he was going to call.”
  • Anthopoulos tells Zwelling that while there was pressure to get a deal for Price and/or another starter done, he did have a fallback plan. Anthopoulos had a standing agreement in place for a yet-unnamed lesser pitcher than Price that he could’ve swung on July 31, but the move for Price halted that need.
  • Keri notes that Anthopoulos was on the phone with Mariners counterpart Jack Zduriencik discussing Mark Lowe when Dombrowski came calling with the info that he was ready to move Price. “I’m dying to jump off the phone, but I don’t want to do that to Jack,” said Anthopoulos. “I did really want Price, though. So I did hurry it along.”
  • Keri cites a Blue Jays source in reporting that the Blue Jays nearly had a trade completed for the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco, but talks fell apart just as the Jays thought they had something worked out. The Jays also checked in with the Phillies on Cole Hamels over the winter, in Spring Training, before the All-Star break and with 10 days to go before the trade deadline, Keri reports, but were repeatedly told that Hamels wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to Toronto. Anthopoulos also aggressively pursued the Padres’ Tyson Ross, according to Keri’s source, though he gives no indication that anything was as close with Ross as it seemingly was with Carrasco.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Dodgers, Mets, Hamels, Jays, Astros

An elite starting pitcher was a luxury good for the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That’s why Los Angeles passed on talents like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto despite possessing the prospect depth to acquire their pick of the litter. Instead, the club flexed its financial might to acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and Jose Peraza. The biggest piece dealt away by the Dodgers was 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The utility man has not yet reached the majors after signing a six-year, $62.5MM deal with the Dodgers. A full $28MM of that was in the form of a signing bonus.

Here’s more from Rosenthal:

  • Cynics may find a way to criticize the Mets deadline transactions. Perhaps they didn’t add enough to the payroll or were too small minded? However, the moves for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe provided essential upgrades to a roster that was showing signs of stress. GM Sandy Alderson deserves kudos for improving the club while working within tight constraints. To me, this was Rosenthal’s money quote, “Mets fans will not be satisfied –€“ and should not be satisfied –€“ until the team raises its payroll to a level more commensurate with the New York market.
  • Echoing the sentiments of many analysts, both the Phillies and Rangers did well in the Hamels trade. With the Phillies taking on Matt Harrison and chipping in cash, the Rangers will pay Hamels an average of $13MM to $14MM per season if his option vests. They also hung onto top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Philadelphia’s end, acquiring three quality prospects will do much to bolster their future.
  • The Blue Jays, unlike the Dodgers, are often described as a cash strapped organization. Instead of taking on payroll like L.A., the Blue Jays dealt 11 prospects and Jose Reyes to acquire Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins. They’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot.
  • The Astros also spent their prospect chips for major league upgrades. They made the first deadline strike by acquiring Scott Kazmir then paid a princely sum for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Interestingly, mid-market teams like the Astros, Blue Jays, Mets, and Royals used prospects in their search for October baseball. The Yankees and Dodgers opted to use money or stand pat.

Reactions To And Impact Of The Troy Tulowitzki Deal

The blockbuster trade sending start shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies to the Blue Jays is now official. He’s officially heading to Toronto along with veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins. In return, the Rockies will pick up the rest of the contract of Jose Reyes (saving about $50MM against Tulo’s deal) and add three quality right-handed pitching prospects (Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco).

Here are the some of the many reactions to the overnight deal, along with the latest notes from the teams involved:

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’ persistent approach paid off in the end, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. According to Rosenthal, Anthopoulos first contacted Rockies GM Jeff Bridich about the possibility of acquiring Tulowitzki this winter, but Bridich wasn’t interested in taking on Reyes as part of the return. The same held true in May, but there was a bit of traction in early July, and business picked up quickly on Monday night. (Rosenthal adds that Anthopoulos took the same dogged approach with A’s GM Billy Beane in offseason talks for Josh Donaldson.)
  • After being promised that he’d be consulted prior to any trade, Tulowitzki instead found out when manager Walt Weiss, with tears in his eyes, pulled the franchise cornerstone from the game in the ninth inning on Monday, reports Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. The Rockies, Passan continues, asked that Tulo not publicly demand a trade so as not to weaken their stance in discussions, and he obliged. Both Passan and Rosenthal note that Tulowitzki is not pleased with the manner in which his exit from Colorado was handled. Notably, Passan writes that the Rockies’ young players have said to one another since the trade that owner Dick Monfort should have flown into Chicago to inform Tulowitzki in person. This type of ugly exit sets a bad precedent with remaining stars around whom the Rockies want to build (e.g. Nolan Arenado, Corey Dickerson), Passan opines.
  • As for Arenado, he expressed some dismay at the situation to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post“I don’t know any of these dudes we got,” Arenado said. “But I think if we were going to trade Tulo, I would think it would be for an ace, an established veteran pitcher. Obviously we are starting to rebuild from the ground up.” (To be fair, it seems that Arenado was referring to the prospect pitching that came back in the deal, not the veteran Reyes.)
  • Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays are still intent on adding starting pitching, and he speculatively wonders if the addition of Tulowitzki’s imposing bat will make it easier for the Blue Jays to part with Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to make that happen. But reports have indicated that won’t occur, and GM Alex Anthopoulos confirmed in his press conference that the team does not intend to move its big league bats to add arms (via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, on Twitter). In Passan’s piece above, he notes that the team will be active on the pitching front but deal from its prospect depth instead of its big league roster.
  • The team does, however, intend to remain active on the market for relievers and, especially, starters. Anthopoulos said he hopes to make staff additions over the next few days, as Sportsnet’s Arash Madani tweets.
  • Coming out of this deal, the Jays could look to add another option in left field, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. He also cites a report from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun regarding the failure of Toronto’s recent attempt to pry Carlos Carrasco away from the Indians. Hoffman would have been a part of that deal, along with highly-regarded prospects Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey, which could explain in part how things worked out. (It’s also an indication of what kind of price Carrasco could command.)
  • Looking ahead, Anthopoulos says that the Blue Jays see Tulowitzki as a future piece for the club, as Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports on Twitter“We would have taken Tulowitzki in the offseason, we just couldn’t get a deal done,” said the Toronto GM. “This is not a July deal.”
  • Several rival executives believe the Rockies will keep Reyes with hopes that he’ll regain some value over the second half, Passan tweets. Certainly, playing at Coors Field promises to boost his batting line, though injuries have long been an issue for the Rockies. The strategy certainly does make some sense at first glance, though, as the team may not be prepared to hand the everyday job to prospect Trevor Story and Reyes could find a much wider market over the winter. I’d also add that he could factor as an August trade piece in the event that a contender has a need arise.
  • The Cardinals talked with the Rockies about Tulowitzki before he was moved, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Morosi notes that Tulowitzki is close with outfielder Matt Holliday, so that might have been a good fit for the shortstop.
  • The Rockies and Cardinals have discussed Tulo in the past, but a deal never came together because the asking price was “absurd,” one source tells Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.  Various sources have indicated that the Rockies sought a package that included, at times, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams — and possibly all three. That was too much for the Cardinals, who also made it clear that Michael Wacha was not going to be in such a deal.
  • The Yankees, meanwhile, were never even engaged by the Rockies before the deal was struck, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. While New York had long seemed a plausible destination, we also heard earlier today that the Mets passed on an opportunity to get involved.
  • It was notable, of course, that the Jays made this big of a splash to add a position player, but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs argues that the team’s desire to add pitching shouldn’t preclude it from upgrading in any way possible. Bolstering the team’s lineup (as well as its defense) still adds runs to the ledger, and Cameron suggests that Toronto may well be correct in assessing that it made more sense to utilize its young arms in this deal than to move them for a rental arm (or, perhaps, a somewhat less productive and/or risky controllable starter). It’s a lengthy and detailed piece — all the more impressive since Cameron pulled it together not long after the deal went down — and is well worth a full read.
  • Obviously, Toronto did give up real value to bring in one of the game’s biggest stars. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs breaks down the three hurlers involved in the swap. He explains that Jeff Hoffman still has plenty of upside, but appears to have dialed back the aggressiveness in his delivery since his return from Tommy John surgery. Miguel Castro, meanwhile, has a live arm but needs significant refinement. And Jesus Tinoco fits roughly the same profile, delivering ample tools to dream on but figuring as a possible future pen arm if he does not develop as hoped.
  • For ESPN.com’s Keith Law, despite the promise of the departing arms, the deal represents a win for the Jays given that they did not have to part with either Norris or Aaron Sanchez. He sees Hoffman more as a future mid-rotation starter than a top-line arm, with Castro looking like a strong future reliever and Tinoco a back-end rotation piece.

Blue Jays Acquire Troy Tulowitzki, LaTroy Hawkins From Rockies For Jose Reyes And Pitching Prospects

The Blue Jays have officially struck a stunning deal to acquire Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins in exchange for Jose Reyes and a trio of minor league pitchers. Promising young righties Jeff HoffmanMiguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco make up the key components of Colorado’s return. Needless to say, the move constitutes one of the most stunning deadline deals in recent memory.

Tulowitzki will pick up a $2MM assignment bonus and a full no-trade clause by virtue of being dealt. No money is changing hands other than the differences in the contracts, but the financial component of the deal was certainly significant.

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Both of the primary pieces in this deal are playing under significant contracts. Tulowitzki is owed $20MM annually this season and from 2016-19, before a $14MM payday in 2020 and a $15MM club option ($4MM buyout) in the following campaign. Reyes, meanwhile, is on the books for $22MM annually from 2015-17, and comes with a $22MM club option that also includes a $4MM buyout. All said, then, Reyes is guaranteed $50MM less in total following the present season (before tacking on the additional $2MM assignment bonus and the remainder of Hawkins’ $2.25MM salary).

Tulowitzki, 30, has long been one of the game’s best overall players. And he is as closely associated with his franchise as is any other player. There has been near-constant speculation as to whether Colorado owner Dick Monfort would consider parting with his club’s superstar, but it appears that a series of disappointing seasons has finally brought matters to a resolution.

While the long-time Rockies franchise face has been quite good this year, he hasn’t played quite to his own lofty standards. Over 346 plate appearances, he’s registered a .305/.353/.478 slash. With the effects of Coors Field factored in, that’s good for a 111 wRC+. His defense has rated out more as good than excellent. The net is that he’s racked up 1.4 fWAR and 1.9 rWAR on the year. Through this approximate point last season (375 plate appearances), Tulo had already compiled 5.3 fWAR and 5.5 rWAR.

Of course, the biggest question with his long-term value lies in the arbitrary stopping point just noted. Tulowitzki never again took the field in Colorado after mid-July, as he ultimately underwent hip surgery. Since becoming a full-time regular in 2007, Tulo has averaged just 114 games a season.

With the first major move of his tenure, GM Jeff Bridich opened an array of questions about the team’s intentions over the coming days (and beyond). It remains to be seen whether Colorado has intentions of plugging Reyes into its lineup or, instead, moving him to a third club to add other young pieces.

Colorado does not have a deal in place currently to move Reyes elsewhere, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. But a move seems quite plausible. The Rockies have highly-regarded shortstop prospect Trevor Story playing well at Triple-A, and just used the third overall pick in last month’s draft to select top-rated high schooler Brendan Rodgers, though he’s obviously a ways from the big leagues.

Then, there’s the matter of Carlos Gonzalez, long considered the twin-bill feature alongside Tulo at Coors Field. He’s rebounded from a long rough stretch to enhance his value, and a move to shed his remaining obligations while adding young talent now seems more plausible than ever. Having parted with Tulowitzki and Hawkins, Gonzalez and other veteran assets (such as reliever John Axford) could conceivably change hands.

Regardless whether Reyes is ticketed for another destination, he offers his own blend of upside and downside. At age 32, he’s fallen back to a .285/.322/.385 slash line and is no longer the outstanding defender he was early in his career. Still, he’s a solidly above-average regular in a position of some scarcity (at least, in terms of established veterans) around the league. This becomes the second time that his contract — originally signed with the Marlins — has changed hands, and it may not be long until it moves again.

As for the young pieces, the 22-year-old Hoffman fell to the Jays in last year’s draft after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That he was still taken ninth overall speaks to his talent, of course, and he’s already moved to the Double-A level with Toronto. Having cracked many top-100 leaguewide prospect rankings before the season, the high-upside right-hander shot up to 33rd on Baseball America’s mid-season list after showing his old stuff with a new UCL. He’s said to have a big fastball, excellent curve, and promising change. Over 67 2/3 innings, mostly at High-A, Hoffman has worked to a 2.93 ERA with 6.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9.

Castro, 20, has a more projection-dependent future outlook. He opened the year in the big league pen after finishing off 2014 at High-A. The righty struggled somewhat in that cameo, but still pitched beyond his years and has shown a live arm. He entered the year rated the #9 prospect in the Jays organization by Baseball America, which noted his lofty upside and need to develop reliable secondary offerings to factor as a long-term MLB starter. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs had him in the sixth slot this spring. With his quick ascent, Castro has moved to the fourth position on BA’s list and number five on MLB.com’s latest ranking.

Finally, Tinoco has enhanced his stock by working to a 3.54 ERA over 81 1/3 innings at the Class A level this year, striking out 7.5 and walking 2.4 batters per nine. Even before that promising showing, he landed 16th on the pre-season Blue Jays prospect list of Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs. Tinoco can run his fastball up into the upper nineties and has two promising secondary offerings with good feel on the mound, per McDaniel, who indicates that the youngster has a good deal of upside.

As eye-opening as the transaction was for the Rockies, it’s arguably just as shocking — for different reasons — from the Jays’ perspective. Toronto has struggled with pitching all year, but has a highly productive lineup. Reyes was earning big money to play shortstop, and the rest of the infield was filled with productivity, including recent major trade acquisition Josh Donaldson — who rates as the game’s best third baseman — and first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion. (Notably, those sluggers, outfielder Jose Bautista, and numerous other key contributors are all right-handed hitters, as is Tulowitzki.)

Toronto will add a reliever to its mix in Hawkins, but he’s more of a sturdy presence than a shut-down arm. The 42-year-old owns a 3.63 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 over 22 1/3 innings on the year. It’s hard to believe at his age, but he’s compiled a 3.11 earned run average over 237 2/3 frames dating back to 2011.

Despite the fact that the Jays dealt away two promising young arms, it seems likely that the seemingly all-in club will use additional pieces to add a starter. But with one out-of-nowhere move now completed, it remains to be seen whether something even more creative could go down.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has pulled off his share of stunners over the years, with the deal that brought Reyes to Toronto ranking high among them. But after dealing for Donaldson, signing Russell Martin, and now adding one of the game’s best-known stars in Tulowitzki, Anthopoulos and his club are fully committed to win now in a manner not previously seen.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the deal (links to Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com was first to report that no money would be exchanged (Twitter links) and that three minor leaguers were in the deal. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun first noted Hoffman’s likely inclusion, via Twitter, with Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweeting that he would in fact be in the deal. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports was first to suggest that Castro was likely going to Colorado, on Twitter, with Heyman tweeting that he was a part of the package. Heyman tweeted Tinoco’s involvement. Rosenthal noted on Twitter that Tulowitzki would receive an assignment bonus and no-trade protection by virtue of being dealt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Market Impact Of Tulo Deal: Reyes, CarGo, Mets, Blue Jays

With Troy Tulowitzki reportedly heading from the Rockies to the Blue Jays, it’s a different trade market today than it was yesterday. Toronto declared itself committed to the present in spending several important trade chips on the star shortstop. Meanwhile, the Rockies now have another expensive veteran shortstop that features as a trade candidate in Jose Reyes. Though we’ve yet to hear anything regarding Colorado’s intentions with regard to Reyes, early indications are that the club is motivated to deal outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Here are some potential areas of impact of the blockbuster:

  • The Rockies did not add Reyes with a deal already in place to move him elsewhere, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported overnight on Twitter (as we noted in the Tulo deal post). While another move makes sense at first glance — Colorado is not in contention, and could turn to prospect Trevor Story and/or utilityman Daniel Descalso — it’s far from a sure thing. As I explained in assessing the trade market for shortstops, despite the relative lack of quality veterans available via trade, it’s also not clear that there’s much demand at the position.
  • The Mets are uninterested in bringing back Reyes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. New York still has a potential need up the middle, but the veteran has not shown enough for the club to be amenable to taking on his big contract. In fact, the Mets declined a chance to land Reyes already, as the Blue Jays were widely shopping his deal, per Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
  • Neither do the Mets intend to pursue Gonzalez, Marc Carig of Newsday hears (Twitter link). Though New York appears still to be in the market for outfield bats, the team may not be willing to consider that level of salary commitment.
  • While the Blue Jays have sufficient lineup depth to move a major league bat for pitching, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the club does not have any plans to do so this summer. That had seemed at least one plausible path to improving the club’s rotation over the next few days. It remains to be seen how the loss of three talented pitching prospects in the Tulo deal will impact Toronto’s efforts to build out its staff. Certainly, the Jays have now evidenced a willingness to give up future assets to improve their team in the near term, but it’s unclear as yet whether they’ll be more or less inclined to do more of the same in chasing arms.
  • In a tweet this morning, Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman indicated that he’s still focused on trying to work back by September. That may be somewhat optimistic, but it is worth remembering that he’s working back from a knee injury rather than arm problems (though Toronto will want to prevent the latter from developing out of the former). A hypothetical return from Stroman is still probably too much of a wild card to have an impact on Toronto’s current plans, but adding him back to the rotation would obviously represent a major boost at no cost.