In a late-night shocker the Colorado Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and some prospects. If you read and bought into my article on the Blue Jays offense yesterday, I understand your spilled coffee this morning from being completely and utterly shocked at this move. How dare the Blue Jays make me wrong in my un-scientific predictions?
To add to the trade deadline drama, there have been rumors floating around Twitter about the Rockies trying to immediately flip Jose Reyes. Understandable, since they do have one of their top prospects, Trevor Story, knocking on the door in AAA.
Reyes is due to make $22 million/year through 2017 with a club option for 2018. This season he’s currently achieved 1.2 WAR, slashing a solid .285/.322/.385 giving him a .707 OPS. He’s rated poorly at short stop this year with a Total Zone Total Fielding of 12 runs below average (Rtot/yr is a metric to see how many runs above or below average a defender saves, normalized using a 1200 inning factor). So what you have is an aging short stop who struggles in the field but still has an adequate stick. There is a market for that and here are my top candidates (in no particular order) to make a deal for the new Rockies shortstop.
New York Yankees
Didi Gregorious has the unfortunate job of being “Derek Jeter’s replacement”. Poor guy. Although he has better defensive numbers than Reyes he still doesn’t field well enough to justify his slash line of .248/.297.340, and he’s earned a slightly lower WAR than Reyes (1.0). Reyes would be a definite offensive upgrade and the Yankees should have no problem taking on his contract for the next two-and-a-half years.
Up until this season Ian Desmond was an offensive stud at shortstop, surpassing 20 home runs in a season from 2012-2014. He’s suffered a huge drop-off this year (.222/.270/.368, 11 home runs) and has played a terrible shortstop. Just depressingly terrible. While getting rid of him might be an overreaction, the Nationals aren’t ready to waste any opportunities to win a title, so an upgrade down the stretch that moves Desmond to the bench could be vital. They could then just let Desmond walk after his contract runs out after this season, opening the door for Reyes to finish out his contract in DC.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Jimmy Rollins has basically been a replacement-level player this year with his 0.0 WAR, and while I love Kike Hernandez (it physically pained me the day the Astros traded him), ideally he isn’t your starting shortstop in the postseason. Rollins will more than likely be gone after this season and Magic Johnson has shown no hesitation in spending big money, so I don’t foresee any problems with them taking on Reyes’s contract.
Surprise team: Minnesota Twins
Adding a 32 year-old, $22 million/year shortstop isn’t the most savvy move for a small-market team who already has a $100 million payroll, but it might make just enough sense. The Twins have been trotting out 24 year-old Danny Santana who has slashed .219/.243/.300 (.543 OPS). Factoring in his subpar defense as well gives him a -0.9 WAR. Now maybe they think highly enough of him that they want to give him the chance to develop, but adding Reyes for the stretch run and the following two years after sends the message that the Twins aren’t going anywhere.
Now more than likely what will happen is Colorado will trade him to some team not listed here and that I even forgot existed. However, it’d be more logical and not surprising to me if he’s moved to one of the teams above.