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

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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.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”