Tag: Toronto Blue Jays

Jason Castro

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Astros 3, Angels 0: The Astros complete a three-game sweep of the Angels and take a two-game lead in the west thanks to Jason Castro’s walkoff three-run homer. The win was aided by Scott Kazmir’s seven and two-thirds shutout innings. And now Carlos Gomez is on his way to join the fun.

Reds 15, Pirates 5: Brandon Phillips hit two three-run homers and drove in seven as the Reds demolish the Pirates. He also stole two bases. Jay Bruce drove in three as well. Word is that the Mets may be interested in Bruce, however, so expect to hear Sandy Alderson identify some mysterious physical ailment in him in the next few hours which undercuts any possible trade. Maybe a strain of his right buttock due to is wallet being too big for the Mets’ tastes.

Nationals 1, Marlins 0: Max Scherzer, Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon combine on a three-hit shutout. After the game someone asked the Nationals new closer how he was getting along with the old closer. Any strife or awkwardness with Storen, you know, losing his job?

That, um, is good.

Padres 8, Mets 7: Justin Upton’s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth — after a 45 minute rain delay — ended up winning the game. But not before a post-homer rain delay of nearly another three hours, thanks in part to the Mets crew having a hell of a time getting the already wet tarp back on the field. Open question as to why Jeurys Familia was allowed to resuming pitching after that first 45 minute break, but Terry Collins thought he was OK. In other news, Justin Upton, who is the subject of trade rumors, is messing with us:

Earlier in the game, Upton hugged his teammates in the dugout as if he was saying goodbye after a trade.

“I thought that was funny,” Upton said. “That’s what happens when people like to tweet everything.”

Just like Best Shape of His Life, “Hug Watch” is more or less over now that players are aware of it. Really tired of players ruining all that is great about this game.

Phillies 4, Braves 1: Philly wins its tenth in the past 12 games. Aaron Harang came off the DL to allowed one run while scattering nine hits over five innings. Fun times: despite the trade to Texas, reliever Jake Diekman was still in uniform in the Phillies bullpen because, apparently, actually finalizing trades is too hard to do these days. Wilmer Flores on Wednesday night, Michael Morse pinch hitting for the Marlins yesterday, Diekman in the pen. Jeez, guys, clean it up. Tigers should’ve started David Price for crying out loud.

Tigers 9, Orioles 8: The Tigers had a 9-2 lead in the sixth inning before their bullpen made it interesting. Not that that’s new or anything. Now that they’re selling off it doesn’t matter all that much, of course. What does matter is Yoenis Cespedes homering and driving in three runs in his final audition before the trade deadline this afternoon.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 2: Dioner Navarro, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson all homered. Ben Zobrist made his Kansas City debut and went 0-for-4. He did manage to snag his preferred number 18 from coach Rusty Kuntz, however. Hope he’s getting what he wants for it. 

Dare to dream, Rusty.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 8: The Cardinals win on a walkoff walk as the Rockies blew a two-run lead in the ninth. Matt Carpenter homered twice, going 4-for-5 with four driven in. He did so after being moved back up to the leadoff position. After the game he talked about how that helps and how he’s more comfortable there and stuff. Which is something I don’t understand at all, as after the first inning it’s just like being in any other position in the lineup. He singled then, so great, but the homers came later. Never under estimate the superstition, irrationality and love of routine of ballplayers, though.

Red Sox 8, White Sox 2: The White Sox were surging, winners of seven straight, and were sending their ace, Chris Sale to the mound. So much for momentum theory. Boston rocked Sale to the tune of seven runs on 12 hits in five innings. David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Xander Bogaerts also had three hits and Rusney Castillo homered in the seventh. It was only Boston’s third win in their past 15 games.

Rangers 7, Yankees 6: Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer in the first and a walkoff single in the ninth for a nice set of bookends. It was 101 degrees at first pitch. CC Sabathia ended up going to the hospital with dehydration. I’m all for outdoor baseball but I’d love to meet the genius who decided that they didn’t need a retractable roof in Texas. I guess they build the dang thing too early — Chase Field, Safeco Field, Minute Maid Park, and Miller Park all came later — and weren’t confident that it’d work? I dunno.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer with two out in the eighth inning. Joe Maddon: “The whole night, it wasn’t going our way, but I liked the way we worked. And then eventually Riz steps up and does what he can do.” No diggity. In other news, baseball nicknames are dying, you guys. How is he not “Ratso?”

Twins 9, Mariners 5: Eddie Rosario had a homer, a triple, a double and drove in three. If you have to fall short of a cycle, not getting the single is the best way to do it, even if “triple short of the cycle” gets all the press. Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier also homered.

Indians 3, Athletics 1: Carlos Carrasco was dominant, tossing a two-hitter, with both hits coming in the first inning. All the A’s managed the rest of the way was a measly walk as Carrasco went the distance, needing only 103 pitches to do so, in a game that took only two hours and fifteen minutes.

Troy Tulowitzki’s greatness is not a Coors Field creation

troy tulowitzki getty

Any hitter would benefit greatly from playing half his games at Coors Field, which is the most hitter-friendly ballpark in modern baseball history and dramatically inflates batting averages and power numbers across the board.

However, the tendency to dismiss a Rockies hitter’s strong overall numbers because half of them were compiled at Coors Field often misses the mark and Troy Tulowitzki is a prime example.

Tulowitzki has benefited tremendously from calling Coors Field home, batting .321 with a .951 OPS there for his career compared to .276 with an .817 OPS on the road. However, even ignoring those amazing home numbers and looking strictly at his still-strong road numbers would leave Tulowitzki as the best-hitting shortstop in baseball.

First, here are the highest OPS totals by a shortstop since 2013:

.929 – Troy Tulowitzki
.798 – Jhonny Peralta
.752 – Jed Lowrie
.738 – Jose Reyes
.735 – Ian Desmond

And now here’s what that list looks like if you separate Tulowitzki’s road numbers from his overall numbers:

.929 – Troy Tulowitzki overall
.832 – Troy Tulowitzki only on the road
.798 – Jhonny Peralta
.752 – Jed Lowrie
.738 – Jose Reyes
.735 – Ian Desmond

Toss in the fact that most hitters tend to fare better at home than on the road and Tulowitzki’s non-Coors Field performance looks even more impressive. He’s the best-hitting shortstop in baseball regardless of whether you want to make adjustments for Coors Field-inflated production or simply ignore his home numbers completely.

He’ll put up huge numbers in Toronto too.

Why in the heck weren’t the Mets all over that Tulowitzki action?


Second-guessing trades is kind of cheap in that (a) anyone can do it; (b) hindsight is 20/20; and (c) the central conceit of all such second-guesses is that there was some open auction for a player in which anyone could participate as opposed to a handful of texts and phone calls and human subjectivity and emotion and weirdness affecting the outcome. Put differently, saying “why didn’t so-and-so make that deal?!” is fraught with complications because it rarely if ever is as simple as that.

That said, why in the hell didn’t the Mets get in on that Troy Tulowitzki action?

Distilled to its essence, the Rockies gave up Tulowitzki for $50 million or so in salary relief and some not-at-all sure thing pitching prospects, Jeff Hoffman chief among them. Does it not seem to you that the Mets could’ve topped that? Indeed, making deals in which you ship off a prospect, some organizational depth and $50 million is pretty much page number one of the “What a Big Market Team Should Be Doing” manual. Especially when they are only two back in the division and have a desperate, desperate need for someone like Troy Tulowitzki.

Maybe the Mets never had a chance to make that deal, of course. Maybe at some point over the past several months in which people have reported Colorado and New York to be in contact, the communication lines were dropped and the relationship soured. Maybe the Rockies simply didn’t engage the Mets or any number of other teams who could’ve topped that Blue Jays offer, and decided that, for whatever reason, they REALLY wanted Hoffman and REALLY think Jose Reyes was the key to the deal in some way. We can’t know until the GMs in question write their memoirs.

But I look at this deal from Colorado’s perspective and can’t help but think that they could’ve done better. And I look at it from the Mets (and other teams) perspective and think that they could’ve topped it. And I wonder why in the hell they didn’t.

For the Mets, if they had the opportunity and passed, I wonder if it isn’t because the team, despite its market size and revenue, has operated on a small market budget for years now and that they’re content to continue to do so because no one at the league office is willing to call them on it. For the sake of Mets fans I hope that’s not it. I hope it’s just a matter of the Rockies not picking up the phone and calling them for whatever reason.

The Troy Tulowitzki trade might be the strangest deadline deal ever

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19:  Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies at bat during a 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Blue Jays lead the majors in runs.

Now, I don’t mean they lead the league in runs by the usual amount, whether it’s 5, 10, 20 or whatever. The Blue Jays LEAD the LEAGUE in RUNS. They’re scoring 5.28 per game. No one is within 70 runs of them. The second highest scoring offense in the league averages 4.65 runs per game.

Of course, far less impressive than the Jays’ offense is their pitching. For that reason, they were supposed to be all over all of the big-name pitchers available this week. Maybe Cole Hamels was out of reach, but Jeff Samardzija was a popular choice. The Padres’ horde, Mat Latos of the Marlins and Mike Fiers of the Brewers were also being talked about.

And if the Blue Jays did go get a bat, it figured to be an outfielder. Preferably one who hits left-handed. 111 of the Jays’ 130 homers this year have come from right-handed hitters, and while they’ve gotten solid production from every spot, the positions on the team with the lowest OPSs to date are left field and center field.

Then there are the Rockies. The Rockies always need pitching. Their most effective starter this year has been 28-year-old Chris Rusin, a Cubs castoff with a 3-4 record and a 4.13 ERA in 65 1/3 innings. Overall, their starters have a 5.12 ERA, which ranks 29th in MLB ahead of only the Phillies. They’re dead last with a 1.52 WHIP and a 1.8 K:BB ratio.

The other thing the Rockies always seem to need to do is to get cheaper. They don’t really like spending money. They’re not very good at it when they do.

None of this would seem to be a likely recipe for a Troy Tulowitzki-for-Jose Reyes trade. To say this one came out of nowhere would be an understatement. No one would have guessed the Blue Jays were in the market for a shortstop. And no one would have imagined that when the Rockies finally traded Tulo, it would be for a player who has a higher annual salary.

Still, as these things tend to do, things seem to make more sense the deeper one digs.

First and foremost, while this will always be referred to as the Tulo-for-Reyes deal, that’s not at all what it’s about. This was a Tulo-for-Jeff Hoffman and Miguel Castro deal. The Rockies landed two prime arms in return for giving up the game’s preeminent shortstop and taking on a modestly overpaid replacement. A third, as yet undisclosed, prospect is also involved, and the Rockies also parted with veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins. Reyes was not the focus. The trade would have made more sense on the Rockies’ end if it was just Tulo for the young right-handers, but then, the Blue Jays couldn’t have made that deal without somehow shedding Reyes’s salary in the bargain.

It probably comes as a surprise to many, but Reyes is making more than Tulo right now, just not for quite so long. He’s earning $22 million per year through 2017, with a $22 million option or a $4 million buyout for 2018. Tulo makes $20 million per year through 2019, $14 million in 2020 and then $15 million or a $4 million buyout in 2021. There’s also a $2 million trade kicker on Tulo’s contract. At a minimum, the Jays are absorbing an extra $52 million here, while also picking up three more years of control.

So, Reyes essentially had to be in this deal if the Rockies wanted the prospects. What remains to be seen is whether they’ll hold on to him for a bit or if they’ll flip him right away, opening up shortstop for a quality prospect in Trevor Story. Trading Reyes for a couple of prospects, probably eating some salary in the process, is probably the way to go. In Hoffman and Castro, the Rockies got two guys with top-of-the-rotation upside, though it needs to be noted that the former is coming back from Tommy John surgery and the latter couldn’t hack it as a major league reliever this year. Hoffman has the better chance of fulfilling his potential. Castro, though, has an incredible arm, and even if can’t make it as a starter, he could turn into a fine closer.

For the Blue Jays, well, this was all about making it back to the postseason, even if it materialized in a way that no one expected. Tulowitzki is a better hitter and probably a better defender than Reyes. He is injury-prone, but so is the guy he’s replacing. He’s a clear upgrade. He’d also seem to be a luxury purchase when there are still necessities required. Losing Hoffman and Castro is a big blow to the farm system that they’re going to have to dip right back into in an effort to upgrade their rotation. I’m going to withhold my judgment on whether it was the right move until seeing whether the Jays come away with a quality starter prior to Friday’s deadline.

Report: Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and prospects

tulowitzki getty

The Blue Jays have pulled off a stunner, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that that they have acquired five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies. Jose Reyes and a package of minor leaguers are headed back to Colorado while LaTroy Hawkins is also being sent to Toronto. No word yet on the financial details involved.

While many expected the Blue Jays to make a big splash for a pitcher, they apparently decided to strengthen what was already the best offense in the majors. After coming back from hip surgery, Tulowitzki has managed to stay healthy this season while batting .300/.348/.471 with 12 home runs and 53 RBI over 87 games. It was reported over the weekend that the Mets inquired on Tulowitzki only to find that the Rockies weren’t motivated to move their face of the franchise, but the Blue Jays obviously changed their thinking on the matter.

Tulowitzki receives a $2 million assignment bonus for being traded and is owed $100 million through 2020. His contract also includes a $15 million club option for 2021. He was only permitted to be traded once during his contract, so he now has a full no-trade clause.

Reyes would appear to be a strange fit for the Rockies, who have prospect Trevor Story at Triple-A and should be focused on rebuilding as opposed to acquiring players on the wrong side of 30 years old. Unless getting out from Tulowitzki’s contract was a major motivation behind the deal. For what it’s worth, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi hears that Reyes is likely to be flipped to another team. Either way, this is the second time Reyes has been traded since signing his six-year, $106 million deal with the Marlins in December of 2011. The 32-year-old still has two years at $22 million remaining on the deal and a $22 million club option or $4 million buyout for 2018.

UPDATE, 1:37 a.m. ET: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that right-hander Miguel Castro is one of the prospects headed to Colorado, confirming buzz from FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

UPDATE: The Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliot reported that the Rockies are also getting right-hander Jeff Hoffman, the Jays’ first-round pick in 2014. So at least the Rockies are coming away with two of Toronto’s best young arms.