Spending at at least a year and a half as the subject of trade speculation, while insisting he really didn’t want to leave Denver, Troy Tulowitzki—swapped to the Blue Jays this week, for former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes—says he was blindsided almost completely by the deal. Apparently, he had a gentleman’s agreement with Rockies owner Dick Monfort that he wouldn’t be dealt without his prior knowledge and approval. Until he didn’t, of course.
Which didn’t keep Tulowitzki from thanking his new club with a bang upon arrival. With the Blue Jays hosting the Phillies as Tulowitzki arrived, he spent his second at-bat in Blue Jays fatigues measuring Jerome Williams for a mammoth two-run homer, en route a 3-for-5 game that also included two doubles and three steaks. But the home run was almost bigger news in Colorado than in Toronto, if you follow the press reports.
The Blue Jays didn’t stop there, either. With the Tigers finally beginning to face reality, the Jays were only too happy to send the Tigers some yummy pitching prospects in exchange for David Price. Apparently, the Jays hope Price can do for them what he couldn’t do for the Tigers last year, through little fault of his own: push them all in for a postseason run this year.
The Tigers, meanwhile, needed a farm replenishment badly enough after pillaging it to sustain their AL Central dominance. The top nugget they landed? Probably Daniel Norris, the slight eccentric who struggled a bit with the Jays before going back to AAA to rehorse, but the scouts love his raw stuff and he looks repaired enough that the Tigers are penciling him in to start Sunday.
Cole Hamels re-ramped his trade value with a no-hitter against the Cubs, one of the teams thought to be looking to reel him in. Then, the Phillies—whose front office for two years running and possibly counting has pointed the way to wisdom by comments and actions completely opposed to it—swapped him to the Rangers for five live prospects and one lefthanded pitcher (Matt Harrison) who eats innings but is coming back from spinal fusion surgery.
In a deal which only should have been made at least a year earlier, apparently someone finally showed the Phillies what they wanted, never mind that too often until this week it looked like the Phillies were demanding the Van Allen Belt and three arable M-class planets in return. What’s also worth wondering is what made the Rangers, who don’t really look like contenders this year (injuries got them early and often enough), attractive enough to Hamels while the Astros, who do look like contenders this year, surprisingly, weren’t.
Meanwhile, up in New York, the Mess (er, Mets) had a deal to bring aboard the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez, who just might have been the impact bat they sought so long as David Wright remained in medical drydock. Until they didn’t, either. The Brewers had sent goodbye messages to Gomez. Mess shortstop Wilmer Flores learned of the pending deal, in which he and pitcher Zack Wheeler would have gone to the Brewers, from fans in the stands and had to be consoled in manager Terry Collins’s office and arms.
Then the Mess threw the kill switch on either medical (Gomez’s actual or alleged hip issues) or financial grounds. And the Brewers subsequently sent Gomez and pitcher Mike Fiers to the Astros for four prospects. And there came further questions as to whether social media jumped the gun to get the news of the would-have-been deal out before it actually would have been done. Meanwhile, the Astros must be feeling wonderful now that they’ve bagged a few highly coveted assets while nudging themselves back into first in the AL West this week.
Those were comparatively simple deals to follow. Try following this one without a scorecard if you can. (Dare?) The players: the Dodgers, the Braves, and the Marlins.
* The Dodgers sent Cuban infielder Hector Olivera and two minor league pitchers (Paco Rodriguez, Zachary Bird) to the Braves.
* The Braves sent the Dodgers lefthander Alex Wood, bullpen bulls Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan, and injured veteran righthander Bronson Arroyo.
* The Dodgers sent three minor league pitchers (righthanders Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo) to the Marlins for Michael Morse (who played for the Giants’ World Series winner last year) and righthander Mat Latos.
* The Marlins sent the Braves a competitive-balance draft pick and cash to complete the entire swap.
Who got what, really?
The Dodgers got badly-needed fifth-starter options and a little extra bullpen depth. The Braves got at least one potential impact bat (Olivera) who might be major league ready before the end of the season even if he is pushing thirty and has a few health issues, but they also got a few pitching prospects whose prospects may not be that great in the long run. And the Marlins? They got what they seem to love more than anything these days: another salary dump.
And whether the Rockies end up flipping Reyes—once a prime shortstop long since ground down by leg injuries and looking nothing like the way he looked in his salad seasons with the Mess—before today’s non-waiver trade deadline is just about anyone’s guess. Half the world seems to think they might. But you wonder what the other half thinks. Or knows. Other than that the business of baseball remains as bizarre, and sometimes as anti-human, as it ever was, however lovely the game remains.