Shots were tired in Toronto this week – well, sort of – as Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos took a subtle jab at Jose Reyes, who was traded to Colorado for Troy Tulowitzki. In explaining the rationale behind the trade, Anthopoulos called Tulowitzki the “best player at (his) respective position and a guy that also brings some intangibles.”
Does that imply that Reyes didn’t bring intangibles?
“Yeah, I’m not really sure what he meant by that,” CBS MLB insider Jon Heyman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I like Alex very much. I think he does a great job – and boy, what a week he’s had with Tulowitzki and (David) Price. I think they’re favored to win the Wild Card now.”
Reyes hit .285 with four home runs, 34 RBIs and 16 steals in 69 games for Toronto this season, but the Blue Jays felt the 32-year-old was becoming a defensive liability.
“I’ve heard they had concerns about (his) defense, that he’d lost a lot – that he was always a fast guy with just good range, not Rey Ordonez-type range, and now he’s lost a step or two and he’s really not the same player defensively,” Heyman said. “I talked to a scout who said he couldn’t believe how he’s disintegrated defensively. Even though Tulowitzki has a rebuilt hip, apparently his range has been okay this year. He obviously has got power. They like power. He fits in that ball park where right-handed power really plays.
“And really if you look at the contracts, it’s not that much worse because Reyes actually makes more money next year and the year after,” Heyman continued. “Reyes’ salary is $22 million each of those years. So you’re getting two-and-a-half years for $56 million or you’re getting five-and-a-half years for $105 million. So per year, per day, per whatever, Troy Tulowitzki is actually making less. So you look at it that way.”
Tulowitzki, 30, couldn’t have had a much better debut for Toronto. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored in an 8-2 home win over the Phillies on Wednesday.
With Tulowitzki and Price on board, Toronto (51-51), which is just two games behind Minnesota in the Wild Card race, has an excellent shot of making the playoffs.
“I think they have a good shot at that second Wild Card,” Heyman said. “Right now they’re looking at Minnesota as the second Wild Card, and I give Paul Molitor all the credit in the world. He’s done a terrific job to get that team in that position, but I think a lot of people look at that team as a mirage, that they’re not going to be there (in the end). Right now, Toronto is around .500. So is Baltimore. So are the White Sox. There are several teams around .500, so they’re in that mix right now. I think that (Price) does probably put them over the top for that second Wild Card.”
But about that bullpen . . .
“I do still think they need to fix that bullpen to really have a shot as being a World Series contender,” Heyman said. “That bullpen has been horrific. Going in, we knew it was an issue, and it has continued to be an issue for that team. (Brett) Cecil is a good pitcher. He’s not a closer. They obviously added LaTroy Hawkins. That’s nice. He’s about 41 years old.”
Actually, he’s 42.
“I was close,” Heyman said, “but I do think they need to get another reliever. The market is flush with very good back-end relievers. It doesn’t have to be (Craig) Kimbrel and (Aroldis) Chapman. They’re the two best closers in the game, and they’re both on the market. Obviously if it’s them, that’s even better – but I still think they need pen.”