Jays GM defends Tulowitzki deal
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos couldn’t miss the chance to get one of the top shortstops in baseball, even at the cost of more prospects.
Anthopoulos acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins in a trade with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes, reliever Miguel Castro and minor-league pitchers Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco.
Castro and Hoffman are considered two of the Blue Jays’ top young players but Anthopoulos could not pass up the chance to get Tulowitzki.
“We’re getting the best short- stop in baseball in our minds, and those opportunities just don’t present themselves,” said Anthopoulos.
Talks between the Blue Jays and Rockies began last offseason, with Toronto pursuing Tulowitzki. According to Anthopoulos, Colorado’s counter offers always included Hoffman and the deal got done when the Blue Jays agreed to his inclusion late Monday night.
“You always like to keep your prospects if you can but, again, if you have opportunities to get guys that you think are great fits we’re obviously willing to do that,” said Anthopoulos. “Ideally you hang on to them but you also realize you’re not going to get guys for free.
“We don’t have a cut and dry policy, we’d like to keep as many as we can but that’s the cost of acquiring players.”
Hoffman and Castro join a long list of prospects that Anthopoulos has traded for proven veterans. Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and Adeiny Hechavarria have also been shipped to other teams for more experienced players.
The talented but oft-injured Tulowitzki is a five-time all-star who is hitting .300 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 87 games this season. He has spent his entire 10-year MLB career with Colorado.
The 30-year-old Tulowitzki gives Toronto (50-50) another powerful, right-handed bat in a dangerous lineup that already includes Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Russell Martin. Toronto’s commitment to Tulowitzki is significant, and not just in the assets lost. He is in the second year of a seven-year deal worth a guaranteed US$132 million.
“We’re always focused on the short and the long-term and we felt that an acquisition like this would address both,” Anthopoulos said. He also pointed out that although Hawkins plans to retire at the end of the 2015 season, he’ll help the Blue Jays’ beleaguered bullpen as the team makes a push for the post-season.