Troy Tulowitzki was the first major trade chip to be made this week – and he went to Toronto, a team within the Baltimore Orioles’ division. So of course the question being asked today in Birdland is how is this impacting the O’s? And quite frankly, the answer is that we just don’t know yet. That might sound a bit simplistic, but work with me.
Toronto sent Jose Reyes to Colorado (along with some prospects, and I’ll get into that later). So the teams effectively switched shortstops. Obviously if you disregard the prospects, Toronto got the better end of the deal. If you throw the prospects back in there, it was probably an even trade. But is Tulowitzki the end of Toronto’s endeavors on the trade block?
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If the answer to that question is yes, then I would submit that it might not impact the Orioles too much. And yes I’m aware of the caliber of player that Tulowitzki is. However the Baseball Tonight crew made a great point about this on ESPN last night. Toronto’s Rogers Centre does funny things to players – especially infielders. So while Tulowitzki might well look good hitting there, will their infield defense be as strong? The fact is that we just don’t know, along with the fact that Tulowitski does have a history of injury problems.
But that goes back to whether or not Toronto is done with trades. Again as was pointed out on Baseball Tonight, Toronto has always been able to hit. It’s been their pitching that’s been suspect both this year as well as in the past. So could they not take some of the power that they already have and flip it for pitching?
If they were to do that, they’d probably become an odds on favorite to win the AL East – for the time being at least. Now that type of thing is a risky move for sure; look at Oakland last year. They had been in cruise control in their division for the entire way, only to trade Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for John Lester. And they limped into the playoffs as the second wild card – barely.
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It’ll also be interesting to see how things start to go down in a few years for Toronto. Will the prospects they sent out to Colorado pan out as eventual big league players? And will this trading of prospects eventually put Toronto into a roster crunch similar to what we’ve seen from the Orioles this year? Anything is possible, and the fact is that’s the risk you run.
One way or another, this should signal to the Orioles that if they’re really going to go for it, they’ll need to do something. As I’ve hashed out here previously, there’s a group of folks who wants the Orioles to sell. Regardless of whether it’s buying or selling (I maintain they should be buyers), they need to do something. Standing pat at the trade deadline won’t cut it. But in saying that, keep in mind that Dan Duquette is also normally active in August with waiver trades. As with all things, time will tell the story.