By Bob Elliott
There was a time earlier this season the night after Jose Reyes had a bad game in the field where opposing scouts said that Reyes and his $22 Million US contract could never be moved.
Just as the way people used to say said Vernon Wells, Alexis Rios and Raul Mondesi’s contracts could never be dealt.
Who knows, maybe when Troy Tulowitzki was on the disabled list last year, the same thoughts were said time and again in Denver.
A long time ago we learned the first question to be asked at the time of the trade is the team better now than it was the day before the trade.
Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins, 42, makes the Jays better for 2015 than having Reyes at shortstop with prospects in the minors.
The Rockies adding former No. 1 pick Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, 20, who was the Jays closer in April and who has been at triple-A Buffalo, Jesus Tinoco, 20, from class-A Lansing and Reyes, makes the Rockies organization stronger for down the road.
The keys are obviously Tulowitzki and Reyes, but don’t overlook the veteran Hawkins, who is in his 21st season and has pitched in the post-season four times: with the 2002-03 Minnesota Twins, the 2007 Rockies and the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.
Usually a set-up man, Hawkins has 126 saves: 28 with the 2001 Twins, 25 with the 2004 Chicago Cubs and 23 last year with Colorado. He worked a scoreless sixth getting Maikel Franco and Jeff Francouer on ground balls and striking out Ryan Howard.
To examine the two shortstops let’s look at a number of areas
Reyes, 32, is in his 13th year and has played 150 or more games five times, the most recent was in 2012 when he played 160 with the Miami Marlins. He played 93 and 143 games his first two full seasons with the Jays.
There is no telling how Tulowitzki’s left hip will handle the Rogers Centre turf. While Reyes had injuries it was from sliding head first in Kansas City into second and breaking from the box opening night last year at the Tropicana Field.
Tulowitzki, 30, is in his 10th year in the majors and has played 150 games more only twice, not once since 151 in 2009.
Tulowitzki has been charged with eight errors this season, while turning 59 double plays and has a range factor of 4.57.
Reyes had committed 13 errors this season while being a part of 38 double plays and has a range factor of 3.97.
Reyes is 16-for-18 stealing this season and has averaged 30 a year since 2008. He led the National League with the New York Mets for three straight seasons in 2005 (60), 2006 (64) and 2007 (78).
Tulowitzki has not stolen more than 10 bases since 2010 when he stole 11. He has 24 steals since the 2010 season. He does not have an attempt this season.
Tulowitzki, who has a chance to hit 20 homers for a seventh season, has 19 doubles, 12 homers, 53 RBIs an an .818 OPS. The last five seasons he has 108 doubles, five triples, 96 homers, 319 RBIs and a .917 OPS in 494 games.
Reyes is not a home run hitter, he has 17 doubles, four homers, 34 RBIs and a .708 OPS this season. The last five years he has 138 doubles, 32 triples (watch for more at Coors), 41 homers, 223 RBIs and a .780 OPS in 591 games.
Tulowitzki has hit .300 five times, including .340 last year in 91 games. He owns a career mark of .299 in 1,048 games.
Reyes has hit .300 five seasons, including his .337 to win the 2011 NL batting title with the Mets. He has a .291 average in 1,515 games.
Not that we’re running any popularity contest like chosing head boy in grade 7 at Rideau Public School in Kingston, they don’t put up runs on the score board for good manners and most well liked ... but
Reyes was always smiling, always had a new handshake and was well liked by his teammates. Asked by a TV guy at the all-star game what two teammates he would like to drive eight hours in a car with, all-star Josh Donaldson answered “Jose Reyes.” And the second guy? Donaldson didn’t have an answer.
Tulowitzki was respected and highly regarded. Both his NL all-star teammates second baseman DJ LeMahieu and third baseman Nolan Arenado spoke highly of him in Cincinnati.
Tulowitzki was The Man in the Rockies lineup. He won’t have to be that with the Jays surrounded by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin and Donaldson.
Twice Tulowitzki finished fifth in MVP balloting in the NL, behind Albert Pujols in 2009 and Joey Votto in 2010, five times he earned all-star honors, he has won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers.
Reyes finished seventh in the NL MVP race in 2006 won by Ryan Howard, four times he was selected to an all-star game, he won the 2011 batting title and he won a Silver Slugger.
It all started when
Playing in his second game, Aug. 31, 2006, against the Mets at Coors Field before 23,273 fans, Tulowitzki collected the first of his of 1,165 hits. He hit a ground ball to Reyes at short. Reyes slipped and fell after fielding the ball and Tulowitzki was credited with an infield hit.
Choo Freeman singled and Jeff Francis followed with a run-scoring single on the way to an 8-4 win over the Mets.
How is that for symmetry?
2015 $7.4M $8.2M
2016 $20M $22M
2017 $20M $22M
2018 $20M $18M (club option)
2021 $14 (club option
Buyout $4M $4M
Trade payment $2M N/A
Totals $107.4M $56.2M
The next step
Believe it or not, Ripley, the trade frees up about a million extra to spend on a rent-a-pitcher. The Jays will pay the remaining $750,000 on Hawkins $2.2 million deal.
So, the Jays have roughly $11 million on this year’s budget to still pick up the tab on a starter’s final two monthly pay cheques, or a relievers. Or both.