Home > Uncategorized > Pitching is overrated: Blue Jays acquire Troy Tulowitzki

Pitching is overrated: Blue Jays acquire Troy Tulowitzki

Everyone knew the Toronto Blue Jays were going to add a pitcher before the trade deadline. And they did so on Monday night, acquiring 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies.

Oh, and as a bonus, they also received the best shortstop in baseball over the past 10 years: Troy Tulowitzki. For Jose Reyes, young reliever Miguel Castro and a couple of prospects.

There are plenty of questions and concerns about the players involved in this deal — which prospects will be sent to Colorado?; can Tulowitzki, with his history of injuries, hold up on the turf?; what’s to become of Reyes? With as much as $66 million due to him over the next three seasons, it’s near impossible to believe the rebuilding Rockies will hold on to an injury-prone 32-year-old with a deteriorating skill set at that price. At this juncture of his career, Reyes is pretty much Erick Aybar with greater name recognition.

But the lingering thought after digesting this trade is … seriously, what about that pitching staff, Toronto?

Just in the past week, the Blue Jays have reportedly shown at least minimal interest in Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Jim Johnson, Mike Fiers, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, David Price, Joakim Soria, basically any San Diego Padres pitcher and Jonathan Papelbon. They were in on Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir and Steve Cishek before each was traded. They reportedly came close to working out a deal for Carlos Carrasco that eventually fell through this past weekend.

All of that, of course, makes too much sense. The Blue Jays’ offense leads Major League Baseball in runs scored by a huge margin. Their 72-run edge over the second-place Yankees is greater than what separates the Yanks from the Cincinnati Reds, who rank 20th in that stat. The Jays are also at the top in slugging percentage and OPS. But their work on the mound leaves much to be desired. The starting rotation, headed by Mark Buehrle, has a 4.38 ERA, a number that is better than only what the Indians, Tigers and Red Sox are putting out there. The bullpen has settled down after being dreadful early on and following a game of ninth-inning musical chairs that saw Toronto go from Brett Cecil to the aforementioned Castro, back to Cecil and then on to Roberto Osuna. Osuna has been pretty good as the closer for the past month, but he’s only 20. The need for a proven power arm in the late innings and a true ace in the rotation is immense.

Troy Tulowitzki, however, can’t pitch. Breaking news, I know.

Barring a trade to cover those pitching blemishes — the likelihood of which will depend on the prospects involved in this one and whom Toronto is willing to trade away — the Blue Jays intend on winning solely by outscoring everyone else. That’s kind of been their modus operandi for the entire season. Monday’s move just hammers that philosophy home like a Tulowitzki liner into the left-center gap.

The Blue Jays currently sit three games out of a wild card spot, but they aren’t going to make the playoffs without at least one notable upgrade to that staff (sorry, LaTroy). But I don’t want to be a total downer. This team is going to play a lot of ugly-fun slugfests, and while I think Devon Travis will end up replacing Reyes in the leadoff spot, how about this lineup just for fun?

Josh Donaldson
Troy Tulowitzki
Jose Bautista
Edwin Encarnacion
Chris Colabello
Russell Martin
Kevin Pillar
(some dude in left field)
Devon Travis

Is that something I could interest you in? That top quartet looks like something straight out of an All-Star game. American League East pitchers are finding it hard to sleep tonight.

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