The Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies have shocked the baseball world by swapping superstar players. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins are headed to Toronto while shortstop Jose Reyes and unspecified minor leaguers are going to Colorado.
Fans will want to focus on Tulowitzki heading to Toronto, and justifiably so, but they shouldn’t forget about the other player headed north of the border. After all, bullpen help was a more pressing need going into the trade deadline for Toronto than hitting. Hawkins is a veteran with tons of experience. He is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA and two saves with Colorado this season, but he may take on a bigger role with the Blue Jays, who don’t have much experience in the back end of the bullpen.
Having Hawkins back there shouldn’t be understated. The Blue Jays have the 16th-ranked bullpen in baseball, which isn’t going to cut it in the hotly-contested AL Wild Card race. At 50-50, they sit three games out of the second Wild Card spot. With an improved bullpen, they have improved their chances to climb up in the standings.
Obviously, the addition of Tulowitzki to the lineup cements the Blue Jays offense as the best in baseball, which won’t hurt either.
In blockbuster trades like this, the secondary players often end up making the biggest impact. No matter how things shake out the rest of the season, the Blue Jays have made one thing clear: they’re ready to compete in the AL. Just know that the announcement has as much to do with Hawkins as it does Tulowitzki.