The Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies pulled off a trade on Thursday afternoon.
It’s not necessarily a surprising move. Grichuk’s playing time (and production) really dried up over the last couple of months of the season while Kris Bryant’s arrival in Colorado limited Tapia’s potential development.
Blue Jays Tapia: Fit for the role
The writing had been on the wall for Grichuk for some time now. Let’s be honest, if George Springer didn’t go down last spring, a trade like this could’ve happened a year ago.
Obviously, Springer’s delayed debut forced Grichuk into an everyday role and, there were times when he was the most consistent player on the team. However, a season lasts six months, not two, and Randal, as he always does, came back down to earth.
The return to health of the outfielders for the upcoming season inspired a change. As good as Grichuk can be at times, his skillset is like the guys already in place. And his salary (over $10 million with bonus thru 2023) is a tough pill to swallow for a part-time player.
The team needed a different kind of player in that spot, and Tapia should be a great fit. He’s a contact-based, left-handed hitter with plus speed. The 487 at-bats he achieved last season represented a career-high for the Dominican native, so Tapia is used to being used as a part-timer and can play all three outfield spots, maximizing his versatility.
Tapia’s comments through an interpreter sounded like a guy who’s sad to leave the only place he’s called home but energized to go to a contender. He seems like a good teammate and should fit right into the Blue Jays’ diverse dugout.
Perhaps no team needed a left-handed bat more desperately than Toronto and his $3.95 million contract is much more palatable than Grichuk’s. He could be utilized as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement and his long, lanky body increases his defensive and base-stealing potential.
The Rockies got just 28 home runs from their corner outfielders in 2021, just below the Diamondbacks for the fewest in the majors. Grichuk has averaged just under 25 homers in each full season since 2016 and would form a steady position group, along with Bryant and veteran Charlie Blackmon.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see “Grich” surpass the 30 home run mark playing home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Finally, the addition of Pinto gives Jays fans a prospect to look out for in the coming years. Just 19 years old, Pinto was recently named MVP of the Dominican Summer League.