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.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.

While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.

Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?