Many wondered if the Blue Jays would even make a deal at all this week. The rumors were flying, the names were connecting. It all seemed to good to be true. Could the Blue Jays actually make a deal for one of these available starters in order to upgrade their team and possibly make a run at the playoffs? Well, we got a few answers Tuesday morning. Yes, the club did make a big trade. But, no it was not for pitching help.
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GM, Alex Anthopoulos did the unthinkable and managed to unload Jose Reyes and his contract. The return was Troy Tulowitzki and his contract. In all, LaTroy Hawkins is coming to Toronto and Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco are heading to the Rockies organization. Talk about a big move! It was expensive, but it improves the offense quite a bit. What it doesn’t do is address real pitching needs.
What if this is the last move AA makes this week? The general consensus is that it is not, or that it had better not be. But, for right now, what if it is? It is not easy pulling off trades of consequence. The Blue Jays just sent two highly touted arms away. They still have resources available, but not what they did have. So, what if this is all they do?
Perhaps, this move can be seen as an improvement that could yield results. Improving on strengths is a strategy. The Blue Jays already have the most potent offense in baseball. By adding Tulo, they are making it even better. The Blue Jays are currently 5th in MLB in average (.262), 2nd in OBP (.330), 2nd in SLG (.441) and 1st in runs (528). They are now going to plug Tulo’s .300/.348/.471 line and his 12 HR, 53 RBI. And, he’s been having what some would call a down season. That’s a pretty nice down season. And, they have him through 2020 (a team option exists for 2021). He is younger than Reyes and brings more to the table?
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As well, his defense is much better. For his career, he’s been worth 80 DRS, and a UZR of 32.8. He’s an improvement over Reyes. Fans would have traded Reyes’ defense for a bag of peanuts. Instead, they’re getting one of, if not the, best short stop in the game. That is not exactly a hot take, or a bold statement. We know this. But, what does it do for the Blue Jays?
For right now, it makes them better. It makes them better for quite a few years. Does it help with their attempts to make the playoffs? Actually, it just might. Think about adding Tulo to a lineup that includes Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin and Devon Travis. Hello! Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com tells us that by adding an impact bat to an already powerful lineup might actually have more impact than adding a pitcher would. He is basing this off of his previous use of The Markov Chain in an argument as to how a team should improve. Essentially, by improving upon what you’re good at, you are adding value. If you address areas of weakness, you might get some impact, but not as great as adding to the strengths.
If this is true, maybe the Blue Jays will get more value out of an impact position player like Tulowitzki than trading for a pitcher. Improving their strengths just might yield more results that renting a Jeff Samadzija. It certainly would over the course of next season and they year after. Is it what fans were hoping for? No. Should we be exicted? Yes. The Blue Jays are compiling All Stars at several positions. Will it lead to the post season? Who knows. But, it just might get the closer than we think.