What does the Troy Tulowitzki trade mean for the Detroit Tigers?
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Toronto Blue Jays pulled off an MLB trade deadline blockbuster that eclipses even the Detroit Tigers ' buzzer-beating deal for David Price last July. The Blue Jays shipped shortstop Jose Reyes and three regarded pitching prospects to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and ageless reliever LaTroy Hawkins .
Naturally, everyone lost their dang minds about this deal. Toronto fans are understandably ecstatic, because who wouldn't be when you acquire a generational talent like Tulowitzki? He's an elite offensive and defensive player who is a perennial MVP candidate when healthy. Sure, there's the "when healthy" caveat with him, but his predecessor wasn't exactly an Iron Man either.
Rockies fans, on the other hand, are brokenhearted. Who can blame them? Imagine if the Tigers traded Miguel Cabrera this July, or if the Tigers had split up Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. Tulowitzki has been a franchise cornerstone the moment he arrived in Denver, sparking their first and only run to the World Series in 2007. Trading him may be in the team's best interests long-term -- and they now have a bevy of promising young talent in the minor leagues -- but it still hurts to lose a player who means that much to your team and fanbase.
The rest of baseball, meanwhile, is feeling mostly shock and awe. This may be the biggest trade deadline deal ever. and given the number of
years remaining on Tulowitzki's deal, it impacts the Blue Jays' playoff chances for years to come.
Tulowitzki's biggest impact could potentially come this season, though. The Blue Jays are currently seven games back in the AL East and three games behind the Minnesota Twins in the wild card race. Just about everyone not leading a division in the AL has struggled lately, and the Jays just added the biggest bullet of all when loading up for their stretch run. Sure, they don't have much pitching -- their 4.07 team ERA is fourth-highest in the league -- but they just added a five-win shortstop to a lineup that is already laying waste to the rest of the league, scoring 5.28 runs per game. Runs are runs, and an 11-9 win counts the same as a 2-1 pitcher's duel.
Which brings us to the Tigers. Obviously, they didn't (and still don't) have the pieces in their farm system to acquire a player of Tulowitzki's caliber. Adding a rental like Johnny Cueto would have been a stretch for them, let alone the three pitching prospects Toronto just coughed up for Tulowitzki. However, with the Tigers sitting 4 1/2 games behind the Twins in the wild card race, their slim chances of making the playoffs just got slimmer.
I don't know if this trade necessarily tips the scales from buy to sell -- last night's loss may have had more impact, given the clandestine postgame oddities documented on Twitter -- but it definitely threw another wrinkle into the Tigers' trade deadline plans.