Blue Jays Morning Brew: Tulowitzki edition


Troy Tulowitzki is the starting shortstop of the Toronto Blue Jays. Yesterday was a good day, and yes, it happened. The fallout of the blockbuster between the Blue Jays and Rockies took the lead on every platform on both sides of the border.

The widespread excitement from the deal is met, as always, by the counter-culture crowd that would turn their nose up at Chad Jenkins for Mike Trout, just to seem above it. The general consensus has been split, though, which is perhaps a sign of a fair trade, but there’s no denying the Blue Jays got the better player right now.

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Starting pitching remains the glaring, screaming need for the Blue Jays, which makes this trade beautifully bizarre. It’s easy to see this deal as the first step in a larger deadline week, but at the same time, this is a deal that Anthopoulos would have admittedly made at any point on the calendar. With a move that isn’t solely performed to win now, but also in the coming seasons, does Anthopoulos feel more comfortable than we do about his job security? Questions abound, and you’ll find some answers in the Morning Brew.

A view from the other side  –  It’s easy to put the blinders on in a situation like this, but Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs gives us a valuable perspective from the Colorado side. With Carlos Gonzalez likely to follow within the week, Sullivan sees this as the Rockies finally turning an eye to their future success. While his value has been higher in the past, there’s a great comparison to Ken Griffey Jr. in here. Despite being the face of the Mariners, Sullivan argues that Seattle needed to move on and rebuild.

“The team needed to reload. It needed more young talent. And as one more parallel, it’s worth noting that shortly after Griffey left Seattle, he started succumbing to age. It didn’t take long for him to decline.”

So… What’s next?  –  Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith gives us some much-needed reality with his piece from late Tuesday morning. While recognizing the significant impact that Tulowitzki will have, he points to the fact that Toronto still has great need in the rotation. Do the remaining top prospects hold enough value to reel in an impact starter?

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“Anthopoulos has said for weeks that he’s been working to upgrade a rotation that currently includes the struggling Drew Hutchison and Felix Doubront, whose career ERA sits at 4.77. That’s why many in the industry won’t be surprised if the Blue Jays add an arm between now and Friday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.”

With Daniel Norris still dragging his feet in AAA Buffalo, I’m forced to quote Pat Tabler.  “Shoot, you have to!”

Numbers game  –  The easiest way to understand Tulowitzki as a player is to compare him to what we know, which is Jose Reyes. Check out this fantastic comparison by Scott Lewis of Sportsnet, which puts the important numbers side by side.

It begins with a friendly reminder that Tulo was selected 7th overall in the 2005 amateur draft, one spot after Toronto selected Ricky Romero. If you want to look at Wins Above Replacement, Tulowitzki’s 11.8 WAR since the beginning of 2013 trumps the 6.7 posted by Reyes. It’s also the best mark in all of baseball for a shortstop.

Here’s my personal favorite from the article:  “0.6  –  The difference in WAR between the Blue Jays’ all-time leader Tony Fernandez’s 35.1 career total and Tulowitzki’s 34.5 total. Tulowitzki has appeared in 1,110 fewer games and has 1,500 fewer plate appearances.”

Let’s talk contract  –  Some have jumped on Tulowitzki’s contract as a sore spot, but as Ewan Ross of Blue Jays Plus (correctly) tells us, the numbers are just fine. The entire piece is well worth your read, but let me highlight the “Hell, yeah!” passage:

“At the end of this season, Troy Tulowitzki will have 5 years/$94M left on the 10 year/157.75M contract he signed in the 2010 offseason. In the 4.5 years since Tulowitzki inked that contract he’s hit .310/.383/.536, good for an wRC+ of 136. The only other shortstop who’s within 20% of Tulowitzki’s production during that time frame are Hanley Ramirez & Jhonny Peralta, two of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball.”

The article takes an interesting angle by examining the free agent contracts of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Robinson Cano. The two Red Sox hitters own similar contracts but bring significantly worse results on the field, while Ross believes that Cano’s mega-deal is what Tulowitzki could command on the current open market. This little case study should help you sleep a little easier with the dollars and cents.

Next: WATCH: Podcast Ep. 30, some pre-Tulo deadline talk!

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