Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Twins and the Tulo trade

A good bit of player movement going on as nonwaiver deadline approaches. Troy Tulowitzki, who is as good a shortstop as there is when healthy (which hasn't been often in the past five years), was apparently traded late Monday by Colorado to Toronto for fellow oft-injured shortstop Jose Reyes. Also involved in the trade: old friend LaTroy Hawkins, three Toronto pitching prospects and some $50 million in salary relief for the Rockies.

There's been speculation for years about the Rockies moving Tulowitzki and his big contract ($20 million a year through 2019, 14 million in 2020 and a $15 million option in 2021), and now it has happened.

Reyes, who actually is paid more this year than Tulo, is probably going to get flipped by the Rockies in the next few days. The Rox wanted the pitchers more than Reyes, but there was no way the Jays wanted to have both shortstops on their roster.

There's been an undercurrent of speculation in Twinsdom about Tulo as a solution to the shortstop problem. I never took that too seriously; five years, perhaps more, is a long timeline for a 30-year-old shortstop, particularly one with Tulowitzki's injury history. The Twins are, of course, notoriously patient with young players, and even if they weary of waiting for Danny Santana to put it together they have invested pretty seriously in some young shortstop prospects in the past two years (Nick Gordon and Wander Javier). If they trade for a shortstop, it will be for a shorter-term fix. 

Reyes is more likely, but not much. He's due $22 million each of the next two seasons, plus a $4 million buyout on a $22 million option for 2018. The Twins would be wiser to go for a two-month (or hopefully three) rental than a multi-year commitment. 


I wrote this print column in May on the book "Big Data Baseball," which described how the Pittsburgh Pirates committed to sabermetrics. On Monday, the Pioneer Press printed this Mike Berardino piece on the Twins and their own use of advanced statistics and analytics. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

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